Publication Date- April 30th, 2013
GUEST POST -
Where do you find the inspiration for your plot and characters?
I just read a quote by a famous author who said ‘I get them mailed to me each Sunday’ - meaning ideas for stories. I couldn’t help but smile because it sounds so simple. But coming up with plot and characters is anything but that. Don’t get me wrong sometimes the plot and characters will just come to me but then I have to get to know them and determine who they are, what is there predicament and why they’re in that situation.
Sometimes when I write a story, the characters come first and the story follows, other times, the story comes first and the character follow. In Tainted Waters, the story came first and the characters followed. And as with creating any story, each character brings their own element to the plot which then changes it, develops it and creates a whole new set of issues.
For me, inspiration comes every day and can be from some simple thing - like spilling the milk to it snowing - to maybe something bigger - a wedding, traveling… Sometimes the ideas for plots come from events that have occurred to me - like camping - and sometimes they are just from something I’ve read, seen, heard about - like organ trafficking. Ideas are everywhere and I love playing the what if game. I take something out of context and start playing with it. I then add in other ideas and elements to see what happens.
In Tainted Waters, the idea came from a bad, bad camping experience. I shouldn’t say bad, bad as we had an amazing day at this new lake we’d found but at night, things changed… During the beautiful sunny day we had, we canoed, played in the water, played games, went hiking… we had a lot of fun. But then darkness came and everything was not as it seemed. Big trucks roamed up and down the gravel road all night and the noise from a plant about a mile or so away was really loud. We hadn’t noticed any of it during the day. So needless to say we got very little sleep. And when I don’t get my sleep, I’m a little bit cranky and I imagine horrible things happening to those who have kept me up. Now in this case the good news is that it lead to a really cool idea.
So what do you do with a bad experience? Turn it into a great story. So I decided what if it was a really remote lake that no one ever really went to. The trucks going up and down the road would be hauling something much more sinister than water. So the scene and some of the plot started coming together but I still needed the characters and the story.
I started to think about why this lake was pretty much abandoned and started coming up with reasons why it would be. I finally settled on the lake being small, rather remote and owned by four families. In the beginning, almost 100 years before, they all got along well. But then jealousy, teenage love and grudges came between them, leaving many hard feelings. So no I had some of the background but I needed to know why in present day they wouldn’t be using the lake. If it was believed that someone had committed suicide it might be enough to scare people off and possibly even convince them to sell.
Why would someone want the lake to themselves? What could they possibly be doing there that they don’t want others to know about. Drugs was kind of an easy choice but what about a black market for organs? It just started to build from there as to who were the bad guys, what kind of status would they have in the community, would anyone ever guess what they were up to.
For the main characters I needed a man and a woman who were fairly different in how they saw the world and showed up in it but they also had to both be curious and want answers.
The female, had to be strong, independent, know her own mind and speak it but be really lost in life. She has no idea what she really wants and can’t understand why she can’t find something to stick with. Sam (Samantha) became that character. She was the daughter, of the man, she believed her whole life had committed suicide. It’s really by accident that she ends up back at the lake she hasn’t been to in over twenty years and where she is forced to figure out what really happened to her father. And ultimately discover who she is.
I needed a guy who was pretty laid back, had tried the corporate life but was living a much simpler one now but was also creative and tenacious. Keegan had moved out to the lake, although he was hiding that he was living there and he too was seeking answers to a death that he found questionable.
Sam is very headstrong, she just jumps in and does stuff. There isn’t always a lot of thought to what she is doing or how she is doing it or what might be some consequences of her decision. Keegan on the other hand tends to plan out things and tries to lay out everything before he does it. So needless to say when they are forced to work together to determine what is happening and who just might be trying to kill them to keep them quiet, they realize a little too late that there are benefits to the way each of them operates.
Some days I feel a bit like a mad scientist, I just grab ingredients or in this case different ideas, scenarios, characters, whatever I can pull from my mind and toss them all together and see what I can produce. As you can imagine some days it works well and others well… it takes a little more work. I’ve learned that with each book I write, each one is created in a little bit different fashion and the ideas, plots and characters develop differently as well. But the inspirations for the stories are as simple as opening my eyes, ears and mind.
AUTHOR BIO -
Maggie Thom took the challenge and leapt off, leaving a full time twenty year career in management, to write full time. After her initial panic that she might need a straight jacket, she published her first book Captured Lies, October 2012. And now is excited to release her second novel, Tainted Waters, April, 2013. Her third book, Deceitful Truths (sequel to Captured Lies) available fall of 2013. An avid reader and writer her whole life, she decided to break the monotony of wishing to be an author by making it happen. Married to her best friend, she is learning that humor, love and patience help her navigate her way through her twins’ teen years. Her motto: Escape to read and Read to escape. "Maggie Thom writes a fast paced thriller laced with romance that keeps the reader interested and on edge!" InDtale Magazine