By Angela Campbell
First of all, thank you for allowing me to be here today on Bookaholic Confessions. So I have a confession to make. For my day job, I’m a journalist, but I’ve been writing fiction in my spare time for as long as I can remember. No husband. No kids. Just me and one very spoiled cat who surely thinks I’m crazy because I’m always pitching my story ideas to her for practice. What happens when a journalist starts writing fiction? Pure weirdness. At least, that’s my excuse for a lot of the stuff that ends up on my computer screen at night. I have this habit of skimming the daily news headlines online every morning for ideas for my day job, and somewhere along the way, I always stop reading the newsy news stuff and start reading the News of the Weird.
You know, Huffpost’s Weird News section. Reuters has that Weird News/Odd News section too. USAToday’s Offbeat News. On and on. Gosh, there are so many.
I love that stuff. In my more fanciful moments I like to think of myself as a Chloe Sullivan-Carl Kolchak-Fox Mulder hybrid (kudos to any of you who understand ALL of those references). You might laugh, but those oddball stories in the news can be a goldmine for writers who veer toward romance with paranormal, science fiction, or fantasy elements. I mean, you can’t make this stuff up. Well, you can, but.
I have this little folder on my computer that I call the Wall of Weird (yes, another Chloe Sullivan reference). I snag headlines and stories that spark a fictional idea and save it for future reference. Lord only knows what the person who inherits my computer will think when I die. Geez, she was even stranger than I thought. What a weirdo.
Every now and then, I use a weird headline to jumpstart a new book. In fact, most of my books have started that way. The seed for my first novel “Cry Wolf” was planted when I saw a news report about modern-day werewolf sightings in a Wisconsin cornfield. Nope, I’m not making that up. True story. Another example: I saw a headline that read “Italian heiress leaves fortune to stray cat” (here’s the link if you don’t believe me). I had seen similar headlines where people left ridiculous amounts of money to their pets, and it got my mind churning with the idea for this book. What if a woman left $10 million to her cat and dog, which puts them and the nurse in charge of them, in danger? Of course, they’d need a sexy bodyguard, and—wait for it—wouldn’t it be funny if he were psychic and could hear the animals’ thoughts? Too far-fetched? Whatever. I have a weird sense of humor. I decided to run with it and make it believable because I like a challenge. I even consulted an alleged real pet psychic as part of my research to try to make the story even more believable. That’s how “On the Scent” was conceived, and most of the reviews say something similar to this one, pulled from Amazon — ” I enjoyed the animal psychic aspect of the story. (I know this sounds a bit silly, but it works!) It is a fun, suspenseful, humorous book. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series!”
So there’s my writing confession: I draw inspiration from headlines. And I also talk to my cat about my writing, but I probably shouldn’t have admitted that part in public, should I? Oh well.
A huge thank you to Angela and Katey from Books with Bunny. ♥
An eclectic reader who loves almost every genre, Angela Campbell read her first romance novel at 16 and immediately endeavored to write one, too. Many offbeat attempts (and a couple of decades) later, she published her first novel through Carina Press. Her new romantic suspense series is being published by Harper Impulse. With every story she pens, Angela aims to build in a paranormal element to a contemporary and recognizable world with characters who find love in oftentimes humorous and extraordinary situations.