On a couple of occasions now I have had the pleasure of copy editing manuscripts written by Camille Eide. Let me tell you a secret: Her novels have this sweet realness to them that is difficult to master as an author. I hope you'll give them a try soon. Welcome, Camille!
What If Inspiration Is Right Under Your Nose?
by Camille Eide
I can name the exact moment each of my novels were inspired.
My first novel came from a conversation about my American brother and my friend’s Norwegian sister who fell in love via email. How romantic for two people from different countries to fall in love over correspondence! Of course, characters and conflicts were added, but it was that conversation that sparked Like There’s No Tomorrow.
|Where does your inspiration come from?|
My second novel was inspired by a Christmas letter from my niece while she worked at a group foster home run by a woman who took in cast-off kids. What if a woman had a heart for the unwanted because she had suffered the same fate, yet what if she were reserved, torn between love and fear of loss? That question gave birth to Like a Love Song. And again, conflict and drama were woven in, but the basic setting and protagonist had come to me in the mail.
My third complete novel came as an unexpected “interruption,” but we’ll come back to that.
My fourth (unfinished) novel, which began as my third, was inspired by a real life scenario and the provocative question it asked. My father-in-law suffered a head injury that left him temporarily without verbal “filters.” Unaware of what he was saying, he would ramble about things his family never knew, things he probably wouldn’t say if he were in his right mind (fortunately for us all, he had no shocking secrets!). Inspiration ignited. What if someone like that carried a terrible secret or hidden knowledge? What if a heroine’s “to-the-grave” secret was in danger of exposure by her only confidante?
I wrote a chunk of that story, but about the time my plot hit a legal wall, I awoke one morning from a vivid, poignant dream. My dreams are usually boring, but this one was intriguing and so detailed. A handsome, middle-aged man with a cane watched in silence as a kind, lovely woman walked out his door. Though his heart was breaking, he couldn’t stop her. Because of the cane (among other things), he believed he couldn’t tell her how he felt. I awoke heartbroken for two people I didn’t know and excited to discover their story. The book with the heroine with a grave secret took a break while The Memoir of Johnny Devine, my third complete novel, was written.
A conversation, a letter, an accident, a dream. There’s no pattern to what has inspired my novels so far, other than the question, “What if?”
If you struggle to find inspiration, you might try giving that project a rest. Your next story idea might come from a conversation in the church foyer. A scenario in the bank. Judge Judy. A routine check-up. Inspiration could come in the mail. Or it could come out of nowhere as a dream. Be open to unexpected sources of inspiration, and be available. And be open to interruptions. They may not justify putting a novel aside and starting a new one—especially if you’re under contract and on a deadline—but they just might be worth exploring, especially if they excite you as much as my dream idea did me.
Most importantly, be open to divine inspiration. I can’t count the number of times while writing that I’ve drawn blanks for days, prayed for help, and then the perfect idea came. Not only does God give ideas when needed, but His help also gives confirmation that the story is worth His while.
And what could be more inspiring than God’s approval?
Camille Eide writes touching tales of love, faith, and family. She lives in Oregon with her husband and is a mom, grammy, office manager, bassist, and a fan of muscle cars, tender romance, and Peanut M&Ms.
You may connect with Camille at any of these places:
AboutLike a Love Song:
When she finally surrenders her heart, will it be too late?
Susan Quinn, a social worker turned surrogate mom to foster teens, fights to save the group home she’s worked hard to build. But now, she faces a dwindling staff, foreclosure, and old heartaches that won’t stay buried. Her only hope lies with the last person she’d ever turn to—a brawny handyman with a guitar, a questionable past, and a God he keeps calling Father.
Like a Love Song is a powerful love story about a fiercely loyal woman, some cast-off kids, and finding the courage to believe in a Love that never fails.
“Eide is a phenomenal writer who once again displays her wisdom in the way she tells the story.” —ROMANTIC TIMES 4½ star Top Pick
What wonderful ways of finding inspiration! I can't claim the boring dream thing (mine are usually quite exciting and exhausting), but I am always open to gaining ideas from dreams. And I love, love, LOVE divine inspiration. God has the most creative ideas I've ever seen. Camille, thank you for hanging out with us here at Writing to Inspire.
*All pictures courtesy of Camille Eide.
Readers, have you ever gotten an idea that you just HAD to write down? How does inspiration play a role in your career?
Happy Father's Day!
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