One question that I frequently get is, “how did you come up with that?” Well, a lot of times, my story ideas come out of research that I’m doing for a separate project. For example, I was researching the flight nurse program for a museum display and found that the military reports were foggy about how flight nurses were killed or missing in action. It led me to wonder what happened that would be so confidential that it wasn’t included in reports.
Sometimes people inspire me. I collect photos of servicemen and women. It makes me so sad to sell photographs of a beloved ancestor, sometimes without even a name. These orphans, though, are one of my favorite character inspirations. Although some are incredibly beautiful in a vintage way, there are many who’s charms live underneath the surface.
Other times, an amazing artifact sparks an idea or a scene. When I was working on Flygirls, I actually stumbled across their original flight manual book. The book itself was great research, but the real surprise came on the back page, where I found a penciled-in list of phone numbers for each airfield locations.
One of the reasons I enjoy writing about the mid-twentieth century is that many of the historical artifacts are still out there, useable, touchable, and full of stories just waiting to be unleashed.