I am always thrilled to spotlight a guest on Literary Wealth. It’s like introducing my friends to another great friend that I believe they would love to get to know better. This week’s guest is Romance Author Jessica Lauryn and she is going to tell us the truth about muses. Not only is Jessica giving you the inside scoop about muses, but we are also having a giveaway. Leave a comment (plus your email address) and you might win an e-copy of the second installment in Jessica’s series, Dangerous Proposal.
Take it away, Jessica!
Thanks so much for having me back, Lauren! I am thrilled to announce the release of my forth book, Dangerous Secret, book # 1 of The Pinnacles of Power Series! I would also like to share about “muse” – the element that keeps us writers producing the pages that provide hours of endless enjoyment.
Muse can come from anywhere. That said, whenever I’m participating in an author panel discussion and I hear another author give this as an answer to the question, “Where does your muse come from?” or, if I hear this coming out of my own mouth, I become frustrated because this answer is so vague. I sympathize with the reader who is in the audience saying to herself, I meant, Author X, where does your muse come from specifically? To say that it comes from everywhere, though true as that may be, essentially tells me nothing. Though equally, I sympathize with the author who is sitting in front of that audience member and thinking to herself, I’ve been inspired by so many different things in the world that I wouldn’t know where to begin. And even if I could formulate some sort of a specific answer for you, I don’t have a cold chance in hell of recalling all of the different places I’ve drawn inspiration from!
How true that is! We authors do in fact draw our inspiration from “everywhere,” beginning with the people around us. Because of the lives we live, some of us surround ourselves with the same few individuals all the time, and others are constantly meeting new people. Whatever an author’s situation, it is more than likely that she is drawing at least some inspiration from the people around her. Sometimes authors choose to depict a character as an exact match for a person they know. But more often than not, they’ll take various aspects of that person and combine them with various aspects of someone else, or an existing character. But that’s plagiarism, right? Wrong!!! Not when the author chooses to take selected elements of a particular character and combines those traits with elements, elements from some other source, going on to then place the character in a unique story and situation that is all her own. I personally believe that many authors are afraid to admit that they draw inspiration from existing characters, be it from TV, movies, or other books, because they don’t want to be accused of plagiarism. But how silly that sounds, when you think about it, because every character under the sun is going to fall under the umbrella of some archetype no matter how unique he is. Inspiration has got to come from somewhere. And chances are that even if an author tries every way imaginable to avoid making her character like others that she’s read about, bits and fragments are going to spill out of her mind and into that character no matter what she does.
This said, I think that writers are also sometimes equally afraid to admit that they use people they know and meet in real life as inspiration for characters. We authors don’t want to offend anyone, and for sure we don’t want to reveal any of our own very personal secrets. That’s one of the many reasons why we write fiction in the first place – we want to express our emotions by getting things out on paper, things that are often real, which we possess the ability to disguise as fiction. Sneaky, huh? 😉 On the other hand, I’ve met many different people in real life who’ve asked me to make them a character in a story. But the truth is, I’m much more likely to put someone in a book if they’ve hurt me, creeped me out, or are very unusual in some way, then if they’re just a nice, “normal” person. This is not always the case, but those unusual people I meet often seem to demand stories more than others because they do so much to stand out. They stay in my mind longer and therefore they have a much more likely chance of finding themselves being put down on paper. That is a fact, pure and simple.
Now, in effort to break the vicious cycle, here is a bit of my own dirty laundry! Like Abigail MacKenzie, heroine in Dangerous Secret, I worked in a hotel while it was undergoing renovation. And like my hero, Ryan, I experienced feelings of extreme frustration where my overbearing boss was concerned. I channeled these and other elements into my characters and into my story. For instance, I essentially felt like the only thing missing in my life at that time was a handsome guy to enter the picture and make things interesting, which is of course why I created Ryan Newberry. Just in case you were wondering, there was NO murder mystery to be solved in the place where I was working, or criminals, or diamond smuggling – that is ALL fiction! But you can see where the initial inspiration took off for me. And it was like that for my other stories as well. I’ve met many people in my life that I’ve turned into characters along the way, and I’ve also met people who’ve shared a freakishly large number of factors in common with characters I’ve already written. Am I psychic? Could be… 😉
As a writer, I choose to allow the muse to take me wherever it wants to go. It’s helpful to write about things you’ve experienced personally, which I have done several times, writing about places I’ve been to and characters who became some elaborated version of a person I knew. I have also tried writing about places I don’t know so well and that I’ve never been to, and characters who are purely fictitious and don’t remind me of anyone I’ve ever met. This is where research becomes helpful as does simply having a healthy appetite for imaginative scenarios, which fortunately, I have plenty of!
For me, writing is a way of seeing the world in a different way, through my characters’ eyes, and essentially creating a new world, a fantasy world where danger ignites passion, heroes confess their love and heroines are swept off their feet. There is no place I’d rather be. And I am so excited to share that world with all of you!
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
Okay, now is your chance to win a free e-copy of Dangerous Proposal, the second installment in Jessica Lauryn’s Pinnacles of Power series. Leave a comment below. If you want, tell us about your muse. Be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you. The winner’s name will be drawn on Sunday, June 15.
About the Author
At two years old, Jessica became a devoted fan of both listening to and reciting the books her parents would read to her at night. When she was a little older (about four), she sought a greater challenge in her life, and began making up stories of her own, acting them out with her dolls. “When the dolls got “boyfriends,” she says, “I knew I was getting too old for dolls!”
A life-long lover of romance, Jessica took several writing classes in college, and told her professors she was one-day going to write soap-operas. When graduation came, she joined a critique group, and on a whim, decided to “write a romance novel.” That first attempt will forever be staying under the mattress…
Then, on a train ride to her internship in the fashion industry, Jessica finally cracked open her first romance novel. That hot August morning, she fell head-over-heels for the genre, and has been writing it ever since.
Jessica is most intrigued by dark heroes, who have many demons to conquer…but little trouble enticing female companions into their beds! She feels that the best romances are those where the hero is already seducing the heroine from that first point of contact. “Isn’t it the hero’s job to seduce?” she says with a grin.
Jessica loves to see the sparks fly when a stubborn, domineering hero crosses paths with a bold, feisty heroine, and uses the combination frequently in her stories.
When she’s is not writing, Jessica enjoys listening to as much 80’s music as possible, keeping current with the storylines on Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless, shopping for the latest fashions and the prettiest of antiques, and taking long walks in nature where she can daydream about anything romantic. Though she resides in Central New Jersey, her heart belongs to the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.