Inspired By Movies

So today on Wonkomance I am going to say things like this because I am being an official announcer! I am announcing that we have a guest here, who I have long admired and enjoyed all the books of. In fact, back when I was too scared to submit to anyone ever, I dreamt of one day being Bonnie Dee.

Or at least, being as good as Bonnie Dee. Her stories are so passionate, and I connect with them on lots of levels. Sometimes I wondered why that might be, other than her amazing talent. But now I can wonder no longer, because after reading her excellent post I realise that she has a similar process to me to do the writings!

Behold, her post, in which she talks about liking movies and TV and being inspired by bits of them to make books. One of my author heroes is just like me in some tiny way. Hooray!


New LifeInspired By Movies

Thanks for inviting me to Wonkomance today. Those who know my books have probably realized by now that I’m not a big fan of the take-charge, arrogant alpha male. My favorite theme is damaged people trying to get by in life as best they can, like Jason, the hero of my latest release New Life.

After surviving a car crash brought on by his own drunken carelessness, irreparable brain damage has forced Jason to relearn many skills and he’s reduced to working as a janitor due to his impairment. Enter the heroine, Anna, a young lawyer who, after fumbling her first court case, has a breakdown in a deserted hallway where Jason comes across her. Interesting “meet cute”, right?

A brain damaged janitor romance hero? How the hell did you come up with that? I hear you ask. Well… it’s because of my Joseph Gordon Levitt love. I’ve seen about every movie the actor has ever been in. When I caught The Lookout on the Independent Film Channel, I was riveted by this story of a brain damaged guy working as a night janitor who’s scammed into helping some bank robbers. Take out the suspense and murder and make it a romance instead, my brain clamored. So I did.

It’s not the first time I’ve been strongly inspired/influenced by something I’ve seen on the screen. Once, when re-watching Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon I realized the only part I really care about in the film is the hot hot hot scene of the princess’s abduction by the thief in the desert and their passionate coming together.

Thief and the Desert FlowerSo, I wrote an entire story based on that part, The Thief and the Desert Flower. It’s not one of my more popular titles for some reason but I think it’s cute and fun as hell to watch the push-pull of their relationship as the abducted princess gets the upper hand by stealing the thief’s heart.

Bone Deep, one of my very first books, was inspired by Ralph Fiennes’ completely tattooed backside in Red Dragon, the sequel to Silence of the Lambs. Sure, the man’s a horrible serial killer, but in that scene he’s so very isolated and lonely my heart ached for him to have a happily ever after. Well, a serial killer hero is a bridge too far even for me (no matter how much I adore Dexter), so I dreamed up another way to have a hero with a full body tattoo. Traveling carnival? Check. War widow heroine with her own sorrows to overcome? Check. I knew the story must take place in a time when there were actually still traveling shows touring the country which is how it ended up set post WWII.

Finding Home is a direct outshoot of my love for the TV series, The OC. Okay, all right, yeah, The OC was soapy, campy ridiculousness but a lot of the fanfic I read (and wrote) around that time was much deeper and more angsty than the show ever dreamed of being.  We went places our show never would. There were some great writers in that fandom who weren’t afraid to seriously explore the “outsider” theme. I approached a friend, Lauren Baker, and said “Let’s write a novel and try to get it published”. That was the day I moved away from fanfic writing and never looked back. OC fans might see a kernel of the Ryan character in Mouth/Sean, but he’s pretty much our own creation.

Captive BrideOne book I want people to know I did not crib from the movie Thousand Pieces of Gold is Captive BrideI swear I had the idea independently and only watched the movie later, but the similarities are ridiculous: Chinese woman comes to America thinking she’s going to be a bride and ends up sold into slavery. The hero in the movie is even a Civil War vet who suffered through Andersonville prison just like my hero. Damn! That still pisses me off. But it’s a great romantic movie. You should watch it (and read my book for a comparison).

I don’t always glean my ideas off of movies or TV shows. I do have some stories that pop into my head independently of seeming anything. But a strong visual starting point is always really helpful and that’s something movies can give a writer. Or plays. After going to see Rent on stage, I thought about how strange it would be to be part of a touring company, a different city every night and only really the members of the company to hang with. You’d either love or hate these people by the end. That thought sparked The Final Act, a stage romance featuring three couples.

Bone DeepSo, the spark of a new idea can come from any little thing a writer sees or hears or experiences throughout the day. Since I’m apparently a TV/movie addict, it’s not surprising that my influences lie in that direction.

What’s coming in 2013 from Bonnie Dee? A couple of books co-written with Summer Devon, which include a het romantic suspense (Fugitive Heart) and a gay historical (The Gentleman’s Keeper), and The Au Pair Affair, a gay contemporary I’m particularly fond of.

I’d like to thank the Wonkomance team once again for inviting me here today to ramble on about my books and the movies that inspired some of them.


Thank you so much, Bonnie, for being here with us! You can ramble here any time.


About Charlotte Stein

Charlotte is a writer of erotica and erotic romance, with a book currently out from Black Lace, and an almost-novella in the works with Total-E-Bound! Read more >
This entry was posted in Writing Wonkomance. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Inspired By Movies

  1. The Cat Bastet says:

    So my two Main Things are virgins and whores. Bonnie Dee is responsible for my favorite virgin (Christopher from Countess, sorry various Charlotte Stein heroes) and my favorite whore (Sean, obvs, sorry Didier)! So thanks, you’re awesome!

    I never could get a clear image in my head of Christopher. I kept going back to Paul Bettany circa Master & Commander but that may just be the botanist/naturalist thing.

    For Sean, though, I was straight up picturing Rob Lowe circa 1983 when he was a teenager and lookin’ like a hustler. I mean, just imagine what would’ve happened to Sodapop if Darry hadn’t been around to keep him off the streets!

    • The Cat Bastet says:

      Oh wait, hold up, hold up.

      Just now as I was in the shower, Tom Hiddleston appeared to me as if in a vision and told me he’s Christopher. True story!

  2. Sahara H says:

    Loved A New Life, Finding Home, and Bone Deep, now I have to read Captive Bride….!!!

  3. Ruthie Knox says:

    Love this piece, Bonnie!

    It’s so interesting to me to think about this in the light of all the recent discussion — and scorn — for pulled-to-publish fan fiction. I’ve read a few books with their origin in fan fiction, but the origin was no longer even discernible to me — and yet the authors are heaped with scorn for “stealing” ideas. They’re told, “You have some talent. Go write a real book of your own.”

    I’ve never written fan fiction, but I’ve certainly written with the kind of inspiration you’re talking about here — taking characters or situations from films or novels that really got me and asking “What if this happened? What if that was this way?” Readers rarely recognize the inspiration behind these kinds of stories, and if they do, they tend not to slam authors for it. So what’s the difference, really?

    Thanks for the post. Can’t wait to read NEW LIFE.

    • These are all of my feelings on the matter. I can’t dismiss P2P authors, because, well…how is what I do all that different? And like you say, if the book is so utterly different to the original work as to be unrecognisable, what the hell does it matter? I’ve told many fanfic writers that their work was so good, and so AU, they might as well be sending it to publishers.

      To me, these writers were actually writing original fiction. They just clearly liked the “safety” of the fanfic community.

  4. Bonnie Dee says:

    Oh I truly believe a fanfic community is a great way to cut your teeth and gain experience at the writing craft, if you fall in with the right group of people, critics who won’t cut you any slack and help make you better. I cringe to read any of my circa 2001 Buffy fanfic now. All that head hopping, telling and not showing, editorializing! I didn’t know any better. If I hadn’t had the fanfic community (first Buffy and later the OC) to practice on, I never would have gotten where I am today. I would’ve sent crap off to publishers and been rejected time and again–if I’d even had the nerve to send anything to a publisher at all.

    I refuse to be ashamed of my fanfic past and all it taught me. And I refuse to be ashamed that I quite honestly prefer watching to reading. I like to see the nuances of an actor’s performance and totally immerse in a world visually rather than having to picture it in my mind. Guess I’m lazy. I wasn’t always like this. I used to be a huge reader growing up.

  5. Kate R says:

    You forgot to mention shows like Carnivale! You turned me onto that series, even if was after the fact.
    I watched Walking Dead after I read your zombie books and wondered if you were influenced by that show–except come to think of it, your first zombie book was out before it started.

  6. Evangeline says:

    I frequently crib from movies, TV, and books (my fanfic background at play?), because they are the end result–what I’m doing is taking it apart, piece by piece to explore a new emotional arc or a new plot angle. And if that’s good enough for Shakespeare, it’s good enough for me, lol.

  7. Jessi Gage says:

    Just wanted to say, all the covers featured in this post are GORgoeus.
    And TV is awesome and full of great inspirations.