- by Charlotte Hubbard
Put me on a deserted stretch of beach, and I don’t have to die to go to heaven. Most likely, it’ll be daybreak–or, as in this photo taken north of Manzanita, OR, we pulled over to take in the view and loved it so much we decided to look at homes here.
Meanwhile, I was already conjuring an idea that became a series proposal: the Oregon shore became the setting for a whole cast of characters who augment their psychic/spiritual gifts by living in a fictional town near the sea.
Atmosphere–the way a place makes you feel–can influence your life and writing in BIG ways!
This isn’t the first time I’ve been so affected by a sense of place. Back when we vacationed in Colorado a lot, it was a chance drive along the winding, unpaved Phantom Canyon road that inspired my very first published novel. Even then, in the late ‘80’s, I realized that “working vacations” were my best inspiration for stories: touring historic homes in Hannibal inspired a book, and digging around in local museum bookstores everywhere I go has provided more fascinating research than I’ll ever be able to use in my writing lifetime.
But it’s BEING there that starts the story rolling in my mind. It was wandering the side streets the French Quarter in New Orleans, musing about what went on in those third-story apartments over the dilapidated buildings, that led me to write one of my Black Lace books.
Sitting in the bow of a fishing boat, off the map in Canada on a river so clear we could see the fish all the way to the bottom, while eagles soared over the cliffs around us, I suddenly knew this was where the hero of my WIP had to go to escape the U.S. marshals who were tailing him. Changed the whole last half of the book–but it was the right thing to do!
Several of my contemporary erotic novels take place on cruise ships or exotic islands, inspired by those vacations–and by private tours of the ships’ jails, morgues and captains’ quarters, where I was invited as an honored guest because I was a writer! Talk about a good FEELING!
It occurs to me that I’ve lived in mid-Missouri for more than twenty years and have yet to set a book anywhere near home…so I guess I’ll keep traveling for my story inspiration! We leave for the Oregon coast in a week. Already I hear the steady undercurrent of the waves and feel the damp mist of those forests on my face, and I’m eagerly anticipating the new images and sensations that will lead me to more stories! Maybe to a second home!
Tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.