1. My best brainstorming for stories comes while doing housework. I hate housework, or at least, would rather be doing anything else but housework. But the mindless nature of housework tasks must free up my creative mind somehow. It's not uncommon for me to get a burst of inspiration while sorting socks or cleaning the toilet. I have left the laundry basket half full in the middle of the living room, and freshly folded clothes on the sofa and forgotten about them only to come back and find my beagle, Nike, has decided to make a bed out of my clean clothes. But when inspiration strikes the flame, I build a fire.
2. My older sister, Maria, is responsible for my obsession with romance novels. She was the one to bring the first Harlequin Romance into the house 30 years ago, starting a frenzy of book swapping.
3. I love reading and writing romantic suspense. No shocker there. But I also like making soundtracks for my books. Every time I write a book, I come up with 3 or 4 songs that help me get my mind wrapped around the story. I live and breathe these songs while I'm writing my manuscript to the point where my teenagers whine when they climb into the mini-van, "Mom, do we have to listen to this song AGAIN?" Mind you, I think all mothers like to secretly torture their children with some little thing and music tends to be the way I go. They all have Zune's. They can listen to their own music. But come on, how much torture can it be to listen to Elton John, Aerosmith, The Beatles and Peter Frampton. I know they had a hard time with Garth Brooks, but even they agreed that Elton John's version of Tiny Dancer was better than Tim McGraw's. Okay, onward...
4. I'm over 40. For the first time in my life I need reading glasses. I fought this for the longest time until I finally gave in. My husband got a pair of reading glasses before me and when I put them on just to check them out I realized how stupid I was being because I could suddenly SEE the words on the page. Now I have reading glasses in my purse, on my desk, in the bathroom and in the kitchen, just in case that's where I'm at when I'm reading a book.
5. I used to be a Pampered Chef consultant. I love to cook and since writing is such a solitary profession, it was a great way to get me out of the house so I could have adult conversation when the kids were small. As a result, the second most popular type of books on my bookshelves are cookbooks. I have a ton of them. Although my sister, Linda, has me beat there. She's still a Pampered Chef consultant and has a whole lot more cookbooks and kitchen tools than I do. You can check out her website at http://www.pamperedchef.biz/lindamedeiros .
6. I remember the day I decided to write my first romance very well. It was August 1990 and I was camping with my husband. He always loaded the truck with fishing gear and I loaded my duffel bag with romance novels. I would read one after the other in our raft while he was fishing. Then I'd use my flashlight and read into the wee hours of the morning. One evening the flashlight battery died 10 pages before the end of the book. I was tempted to run up to the truck to finish reading but there had been bear sightings at the campground in the White Mountains and since it was 3:00AM I didn't want to meet any hairy animals on the way to the truck. So first thing in the morning, Tom got up to go fishing and I stayed in my sleeping bag to finish the last pages of the Jessica Steele book I'd been reading. When I was done, I said out loud what a lot of writers say, "I'd love to write one of these." At that moment a voice called back to me and said, "Then why don't you do it?" In my still sleepy haze, it took me a moment to realize it wasn't the voice of God, but my husband coming back from his fishing trip early. My husband has been my biggest champion ever since. I credit a lot of my success to his unwavering support.
7. Okay, this one is not reading or writing related but related to my "other" life before writing. I used to manage a rock band called Childhood. It was a Boston based band that won many band competitions and had some regional success. One of the highlights of my time with the band was visiting the MTV studios in NY. This was way back when MTV mostly played videos. They didn't have all those reality shows. It was cool to see the sets and meet the V-jays. Do they still call them V-jays? I'm showing my age again. Years later I was talking to my editor at Avalon Books and mentioned how writers are always told to write what you know, but what I know, the music industry, was always considered taboo to write about. She encouraged me to write about my experience with the band. So I did, and wrote a book called Gypsy Hearts about an up and coming country singer and a recording technician. Cool. I managed to bring that back to writing.
I could go on, but I guess I've given you enough info. I won't tag anyone else, but I do invite you to leave a comment and share some of your own writing, reading or life weirdnesses that make you who you are. Remember, when you leave a comment you are automatically put into our monthly drawing for all 4 Love Inspired Suspense books!
Many blessings, Lisa Mondello