Christina Dodd Answers The Question, “Where Do You Get Your Ideas?”
So obviously, ideas are out there and I find them. To explain the process, let’s start at the beginning …
Before I was published I wrote both contemporary and historical. The first book I wrote (not published, but wrote) was a historical, probably 200,000 words long (my current books are 70,000 words – 140,000 words). The novel featured volcanoes and an earthquake and a smallpox epidemic and a Spanish landowning hero tortured by the inequities of the Colonial system. I wrote on that thing for six years, and it taught me how to plot, put words together, express emotion, illustrate character growth. None of that mattered—no publishing company wanted it. Of course not. It was set in Guatemala, not a popular historical romance setting.
After finishing that tome, I wrote a short contemporary, about 60,000 words. That took me six months. No publishing company wanted that one, either.
I wrote my second historical (set in Medieval England, by God!), sent it to an agent who said she could sell it, and immediately started a contemporary because by then I’d been writing for ten years, racked up enough rejection letters to paper my office, and believed publication would happen about the time it snowed in hell.
Apparently Satan was wearing an overcoat because the agent sold CANDLE IN THE WINDOW in two weeks (on Friday February 2, 1990 at 3:30pm, not that I marked the calendar or anything). While I was waiting for the contracts to come through, I finished the contemporary and sold LADY IN BLACK to Kismet, a short-lived but very profitable mail order publishing company. Think sex in the shower. Very steamy.
For years I concentrated on historicals, while I read all kinds of romance and suspense. When I got the idea for the Lost Hearts Series (JUST THE WAY YOU ARE, ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE, CLOSE TO YOU and now GABRIEL’S GIFT), I knew I had the perfect vehicle, and my contemporary career was off and running.
So I was published in historicals and contemporaries. You’d think that was enough — and what happens?
I was watching FIDDLER ON THE ROOF and at the same time analyzing why vampire romances worked so well. I remember a blinding flash of light, the two ideas meshed, and I had the concept for a four-book paranormal series, Darkness Chosen, featuring a family who immigrates from Russia and who just happens to be fearless, invincible shapeshifters.
I love the unpredictable process of creation, of discovering new worlds inside my brain and stumbling on new stories to write. I love exploring all the aspects of romance, all the ways a man and a woman fall in love, the bold kisses, the shy glances, love-making in the forest, love-making on the beach, love-making (gasp!) in bed. Romance is amazing in its variety, and it’s the variety that keeps me writing (and reading.)
Where do I get my ideas? I believe I get ideas from some fabulous cosmic endless font of creativity which God has created — and I am so glad, because I know I can transmit the joy and the hope I find in imagining people and their love stories to you, my reader. And isn’t that why we all read?