Inspiration for my current writing project came in the form of second trip to the Emerald Isle where lush greenery abounds beneath often leaden skies. Castles and cathedrals dot the misty landscapes. History and romance go hand-in-hand wherever you turn.
The project mentioned above is the third piece of a travel romance series where the main novels follow the journey of self-discovery of Lilibet Travance. The offshoot books branch off into tales of others who relate to her in some way. Writing travel romances leads, of course, to more travel! A win/win for both me and my readers.
However, not all the future books may be based on recent trips. Another source of global background could be mined from my memories of living in Japan. My family’s experiences in the Land of the Rising Sun provide fascinating fodder for romance.
Inspiration Around the Block
While not as green as Ireland, northern Nevada also inspires creativity. The trail shown above is just a few miles from my house. Here the scent of sage and snow hang heavy on the air. Birds of prey circle overhead. Wind whistles through barren branches and pushes clouds across the endless sky.
These views define the bulk of the first portion of an epic series. Lil’s experiences in the Wild West and beyond underscore the changes she faces after leaving her home and family in the Midwest. Landscapes both at home and abroad serve not only as background, but as a means of self-exploration. In the end, physical travel serves as a metaphor for her emotional journey.
For more regular posts about my works-in-progress and inspiring landscapes, check out my social media. I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
I’d like to introduce you to JT Hume today as he prepares to release his next Kindle book. Not only my writing partner, we’re also partners in life and have been married 32 years. We have three fantastic kids, a great son-in-law, and one (soon to be two) awesome grandsons. During our time together, we’ve lived in the Midwest and West with a brief side trip to the Far East. Our life so far has been great fun – and now we’re both embarking on the adventure that is writing while pursuing our day jobs as mild-mannered public servants.
And now, here’s JT:
Hope Knocks Twice is your third Kindle book. Do you have a favorite of the three you’ve written so far? Why?
No, because all three appeal to me in different ways. Duties Faithfully Executed, my first, is a rags-to-riches story about a man struggling with his inner demons, something we all have to deal with as we grow up, but the outcome of his struggles have a far-reaching impact. The main characters in A Thousand Chariots try to reconcile their forbidden love with their faith. The latest, Hope Knocks Twice, is about someone who is way over her head in a new job with problems coming at her from all sides, most of them nothing like she expected. Her solutions, some imperfect at best, were fascinating to script out.
How did you come up with the character of Emma Parks?
She’s an amalgamation of the strong women who raised me, the strong woman I’m married to, the three we raised, and the ones I’ve been lucky enough to work with. This is an exciting time for women, and while we have a long ways to go in terms of opportunities and pay, the entire chain of command at my day job is dominated by energetic, intelligent, and positive women. In a way, Emma Parks is an homage to all of the women who’ve touched my life, as well as their struggles and their successes.
Does the story or the character come first?
For me, character must come first. I’m a committed people watcher and I’m endlessly fascinated by personalities, perceptions, and opinions. To create and extrapolate a “complete” person in print is the challenging and perhaps most rewarding part of the writing process.
Have you based any characters on people you know?
Not really. The main characters are generally people I’d like to meet and have as friends and relatives. Will people reading my books be able to point at a page and say, “Hey. I know (her/him).” Sure, but that’s possible with any work of fiction. I try to do what all writers do: make interesting stories about interesting yet flawed people.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
“Pantser”? Is that a real word? (laughs) If you mean if I write from the seat of my pants, then that’s probably the most fair description.
What’s your writing process like? Do you follow any special routine?
I’ll start with a general idea and ending, and then think out the details while walking my 10,000 steps a day (thanks, FitBit!). Once I’ve cemented the main points, I’ll set up a graph in Excel for my daily word count (2000 a day) and then I’m off to the races.
Which authors have influenced you?
Wow. That’s a long list. If I have to pick a few, Robert Louis Stevenson and his Treasure Island begins the list. The science fiction masters of Heinlein, Herbert, McCaffrey, Bradbury, and so on, taught me to go to faraway places while keeping the human equation as the centerpiece of the novel. Every author should cite Hemingway, and for good reason. And there’s always the Bard, the subject of my favorite classes at the university. My readers probably can guess my favorite play (hint: the two teenagers from Verona).
What’s your next project?
I’ll probably fall back to the basics for the next one: alien abductions, secret government intrigue, impossible romances, end of the world kind of stuff. You know, the usual ho-hum standards.
To learn more about JT Hume, check out his website and blog here: