|Deanne Wilsted and Friend|
As many of you may already know, I have a penchant for overhearing the most interesting conversations: potty talk by kids (and sometimes adults!); business men / women discussing their next boondoggle; politically charged debates; even a sad teenage breakup. Each of these topics and many more have been game in my blog about the things I overhear. At first I was worried about the day someone I knew would read it and recognize themselves in my writing. So far, it hasn’t happened… or if it has they hopefully have not been offended enough to challenge me on it.
I think this is because the overhear is typically only a jumping off point for me. The real story is not what was said, but what it led to inside of me. For example, the potty talk one was about how innocently sincere children can be and how useful it would be if we could all be as honest in our dialogues. The break-up led to a blog about body language and how to use it in our writing.
Each time I catch a snippet of conversation I try to store it so I can use it for a future blog or novel. Sadly, my storage device (aka brain) loses memory at an alarming rate. Many overhears I am able to write down before they disappear… and some my friends or family remember and share with me… but others are simply lost, like so many beautiful shells in the ocean.
Contemporary writing is all about capturing and recreating details like these. Unlike historical romance which requires looking back in time for context and culture (and apparently through dusty books!) , my research is drawn from how people act immediately or in the wider world around me. Setting is therefore critically important, since unless I know the locale personally, I set myself up for a lot of online research and perhaps even travel.
In my second book, Untangling the Knot, which should be published before the end of 2012, my heroine, the church wedding planner, flees after realizing she has fallen in love with the groom and his two adorable children. The fact that she has been subconsciously sabotaging the wedding drives her Catholic guilt to a whole new, unacceptable level and leads her to Italy; the very place where she can exorcize her own demons.
The good news while writing this was that I had spent a bit of time in Italy… the better news was that Italy has always been one of my favorite places in the world… and the very the best news was that last year a close friend got married there and so I had multiple reasons for a return trip. I loved the setting and the research I did on Italy so much, in fact, that I set the entirety of my third novel, Molto Mayhem, there.
When people ask me how I come up with the stories I write I often wonder, how do they not? Inspiration surrounds us, in the trips we take, the conversations we share and the details we observe or overhear.
I feel incredibly lucky to have an excuse now for my snooping; and even more fortunate that most of my research takes place at Starbucks. For me it is far more fun to be surrounded by interesting (if hopped up) people than by stacks of dusty books.
Deanne Wilsted was convinced of her particular writing talent when she won an Honorable Mention award at her local county fair at age eight. Since that point, writing has been her passion… even when it was not her day job. After years of working in business she decided to pursue writing as a career in 2001 and has since produced three novels; Betting Jessica (available on Kindle), Untangling the Knot (scheduled to be published at the end of the 2012), and Molto Mayhem (currently in revision).
Deanne is an active member of Willamette Writers and is current President of Rose City Romance Writers, the Portland chapter of Romance Writers of America. Her blog, Overheard at… can be found at: http://www.deannewilsted.com/my-world---blog.html.
When Deanne is not writing she spends her time goofing off with her husband, young daughter and crazy dog… or daydreaming about her next trip to Italy and beyond.