Saturday, October 27, 2012

Inspired By Images: How My Muse Works

By Ellery Adams

A question that's always thrown me for a loop is: where does your inspiration come from?

I never knew how to reply because I haven't actually thought about how I cobble a book together.

Sure, I know that all revolves around my characters. They do speak to me and make demands and I have goals for each one. I know which mistakes they need to make, which people they should kiss (and shouldn't kiss but do anyway), and how they'll grow, but it wasn't until I began writing the 4th Books By the Bay mystery, WRITTEN IN STONE, that I realized that I am very influenced by objects and images.

In the middle of an eBay search, I happened to see a listing for a pottery memory jug. I was absolutely fascinated by all the objects embedded in the clay and wondered if they were like a scrapbook of someone's life. Intrigued, I started researching memory jugs.

A few days later my husband's medical journal arrived and for some reason I glanced at one of the articles on the front page. I never do this, but I was intrigued by the photograph of a Lumbee Indian. I've never heard of the tribe before and was surprised to learn they were from North Carolina. Again, I began to research and between the jug and the history of the Lumbee tribe, a seed of a plot idea began to form in my mind.

The third element came from some old and not very good movie or TV show I was watching when I was half-asleep. I can't even remember what it was about, but there was a wonderfully wrinkled lady fortune teller in it and I found her very, very interesting. I turned off the TV, but her face stuck with me and when I got into bed, I closed my eyes and saw her as a Lumbee Indian. As a potter who made memory jugs. As a character who would meet Olivia Limoges.

And that's how Written in Stone was born. Out of these seemingly disconnected images and objects. I love this book and hope you will too and I hope you'll look for the jug, the fortune teller (I call her a witch), and the Lumbee.

Written in Stone comes out November 6th! Happy Reading!

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