So You Want To Be A Writer: Harvesting Inspiration

So You Want To Be A Writer, Weekly Features, Weekly Novel Writing Inspiration

I usually post a photography feature for novel writing inspiration, and I would like to share my thoughts on how inspiration in the form of a snapshot can become a window into something spectacular.

todays pick ... hot off the bench ... upscaled vintage bottles

There are countless ways to bottle inspiration. Reading a Jane Austen book, going for a walk along the Seine, watching an Italian film, or a whirlwind romance with a handsome stranger you met in Trafalgar Square. I’m asked quite often, “Where does inspiration come from?”

My answer, “I harvest it.”

Surrounded for Illuminations

That usually stumps the inquirer.


Many writers are faced with this question daily. Where does inspiration come from?


Can you buy it in a store, like bread and eggs? Is it a commodity to invest in? Or is it simply a far away muse that can only be tapped into if the diva allows it?


Inspiration for writers, both young and old, is not tangible. It is different for each person. We experience the world through a pair of eyes, and a pair of hands. Photography has provided a glorious window for a moment in time to be captured, and many authors will say a certain photo grabbed them so intensely that they wrote an entire book trying to explain it all.

The flea

Lois Lowry, who is most famous for writing “The Giver” was inspired by bunch of unwanted photos in an antique store, that she purchased them all and wrote a book surrounded the exact photos she’d found. That book became “The Silent Boy.” And although inspiration, like love, can’t be bought, but it can be found in the strangest of places.

Estudio Domus

Where would J.K. Rowling be if she hadn’t ridden on that train and found the nucleus of the Harry Potter series dropped into her lap?

It all ends.

Where would Stephenie Meyer be without the dream about an ordinary human girl falling in love with a vampire?


Where would most of the publishing world be without these tiny sparks of inspiration?

Fairy Tales

Photography allows me to “harvest” inspiration in the forms of little scenes, captured in time. One day, it may be the right time, the right moment, when a pretty picture could spark the beginnings of a book idea.

Lady Bannon of Berwick

Harvest your inspiration like you harvest love.

Sow the seeds and search out your inspiration in the beautiful world out there, and you’ll reap inspiration in the most unlikely places.


Book Review: “Catherine” by April Lindner


Catherine by April Lindner

Source: Library

Publisher: Poppy

Year: 2013

Rating: 9.5 (out of 10)


 A forbidden romance. A modern mystery. Wuthering Heights as you’ve never seen it before.

Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad’s famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?


Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years — a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn’t die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her — starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.

Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery.

Synopsis courtesy of

Like Jane, this new volume from April Lindner is full of intrigue, mystery and romance. Her stunning prose easily transports you into the world of post-post punk era New York City. Instead of the Moors of Yorkshire, the places where the protagonists Catherine and Hence meet are equally as beautiful, even in their quiet simplicity.

The voice of Catherine herself is assured, meaningful, and trustworthy, as if nothing she did had an ulterior motive other than being true to herself. Hence’s dark, brooding character is more relatable than Bronte’s Heathcliff, and he and Catherine fit together perfectly in a jigsaw puzzle way. Told by two different narrators, that of Catherine and her daughter Chelsea, the way the story unfolded with these dual narrations built the tension without jumping too much forward like the furious pacing of James Patterson. I did feel however, that the tragic, desperate love of Heathcliff and Catherine was toned down in Catherine, but thankfully left out the creepiness of the original Heathcliff character.



Ms. Lindner’s last novel, Jane, introduced readers to her unorthodox way of re-imagining Jane Eyre. It was met with rave reviews, but with Catherine out on shelves now, I believe Catherine could surpass the already-high bar that Ms. Lindner set with Jane.

Catherine did its job. It’s gripping from the first chapter, has a killer cover, and built the characters and plot in a satisfactory way that haunted me from its matter-of-fact opening to its stunning, ghost-ridden conclusion.  

In My Mailbox #3

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by  The Story Siren. The idea is for book bloggers to come together once a week and post what books they have received in the mail/purchased/found at the library/borrowed from a friend. Anyone can participate!

Final Review Copy

Final Review Copy

Be sure to post your own In My Mailbox links in the comments!

Writer Wednesday: Novel Infidelity

Writer Wednesday

It started with Wuthering Heights. Out of the blue, an idea for a book—while I’m deep in the editing of my primary manuscript—sprang out of nowhere the following morning. It consumed every thought, and I could do absolutely nothing until that story idea was written down. For seven days I could not sleep well…I forgot to eat. I became haunted by this idea as a lover is haunted by her affair.

I had to see this idea through, no matter the consequences to my health. What followed was a twenty-three page synopsis of this story idea. Every element, down to the conversations and blocking movements of the characters were written down, something I never do.

Throughout those seven days I believed I was cheating on my marriage…to my other book.

Now, I believe that something as serious as infidelity cannot be compared to an author and her books, but it felt exactly how I imagined it would be. Every thought was consumed by this idea, something that has never happened in my entire writing career. But what did it mean? Is the manuscript I’m working on not as satisfactory as that first flush of emotion I get with an exciting idea? Possibly.

So how does one remedy the fact that a story idea this prominent is demanding to be written, when a manuscript I’ve been working on for a very long time still must be edited and polished further?

An affair?


Or a marriage?

Has anyone else experienced this strange phenomena, and if so, how did you deal with it? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

“Jane” by April Lindner Contest Giveaway!


“Jane” by April Lindner Contest Giveaway!

April Lindner, author of “Jane” has kindly partnered in a giveaway exclusively on Shylock Books!

The prizes up for grabs:

—Two (2) Advance Review Copies of “Jane” by April Lindner, signed and personalized by the author.

Note 10/29/2010 : The author has offered the winners the choice of an Advanced Review Copy (ARC) OR  a Finished Copy of “Jane”—just like what you would find in a bookstore or library!


How to win:

—Mention “Jane” by April Lindner on any social networking site: i.e. your blog, Twitter, MySpace, or Facebook page, along with a link back to this contest, and a picture of the book cover.

—Leave a comment in comment section of this post along with the url of where you mentioned “Jane.” Don’t forget to leave your email address so we can contact you if you win!

Contest Details:

—One (1) entry per person, per day.

—2 winners will be randomly selected in the drawing.

—The contest ends on Halloween night, Sunday, October 31st with the 2 winners announced shortly thereafter.

Interview with April Lindner, Author of “Jane”

Author Interviews

 Interview with April Lindner, author of  “Jane”


My special guest today is April Lindner, author of the 2010 debut novel, Jane.  If you missed my original review of Jane, you can view it here.

Can you tell us a little about Jane?

Jane is a modernization of Jane Eyre. My Jane is a 19 year old art major forced to drop out of college by the sudden death of her parents. She takes a job as a nanny for Nico Rathburn, a rock legend on the verge of a comeback. Despite her best intentions, she falls in love with her employer, and finds herself drawn into a mystery at his estate.

In your author’s note, you mentioned that this book was partially inspired by all of the Jane Austen/Zombie books that were just coming out on the market at the time. Recently, books such as “Little Vampire Women” and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” are overflowing in the Young Adult sections at libraries and bookstores. Why did you decide to not go that route with Jane?

I love a good retelling, and have often lamented that there there haven’t been all that many retellings of my favorite novel, Jane Eyre. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the various other paranormal rewritings fired up my desire to do a retelling of my own, but as much fun as zombies, vampires and sea monsters can be, they just aren’t me. I’m intrigued by human nature, and the ordinary day to day world can be pretty wild, strange and fascinating even without vampires.

Your love for the original Jane Eyre truly comes across on the page. Nico Rathburn, Jane Moore, and their journey to each other has a “timeless” feel to it, even though it is set in the twenty-first century. Did you struggle to stay true to the classic but give it a modern appeal for young readers— even with the constraints of the original Bronte work?

There are so many “greatest hits” moments in Jane Eyre, moments I couldn’t bear to leave out, and the trick was doing them justice. Working through the puzzle of how to translate certain key elements of the plot into the twenty-first century was the trickiest part of the fun of writing Jane. Every now and then I’d hit a roadblock and panic thinking there was no way I could make, say, the fate of Mr. Rochester’s wife work in our age of medical miracles, but then I’d sleep on it or talk it over with a trusted friend, and before long a solution would present itself.

Thornfield Park is at the center of the events unfolding in the plot, and had a hidden sadness to it that really added to the book’s tone, without revealing the true identity of the unknown house guest in the attic. Did you use a real location as the inspiration for Thornfield Park?

Nico’s estate is mostly imaginary. I did browse the internet for pictures of mansions and chose one to keep in mind as I described the house and the grounds. I have no sense of direction, so I had to draw blueprints for the house and grounds to make sure the various rooms weren’t shifting around from chapter to chapter.

Your author’s note also mentioned your love for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. How much did Bruce Springsteen influence the way that Nico Rathburn was written?

It’s true; I’m a rabid Springsteen fan.  I love music and live shows in general, but I’ve seen Bruce 21 times and counting, and I’ve been known to go on a ten hour road trip to get to a show.  So it’s true: in a very real way Bruce inspired Nico, but Nico’s an imaginary character.  He’s younger and more of a reformed bad boy, and though he’s a softy on the inside he can come off as gruff and sardonic.  Also, he’s a bit neglectful as a father—all characteristics that don’t fit with the public persona of Bruce Springsteen, who by all accounts seems to be a family man and a pretty good guy.

That said, there are glimmers of Bruce in Nico. The voice that’s a little rough around the edges, the years Nico spends reading to make up for the college education he was too busy touring to get—those are Bruce-inspired. And the night of Nico’s big comeback concert is written straight out of my concertgoing memories. I’ve certainly been one of the crowd of passionate fans Jane watches with fascination and alarm.

 If Jane were made into a feature film, who would you choose to play Nico and Jane? Why?

I love this question. I’d be thrilled to see Toby Stephens as Nico, though I suppose he’s a bit older than the character. Of all the thirtyish actors I can think of, Milo Ventimiglia looks the closest to the Nico in my imagination. I can imagine James Franco in the role too. He’d have to play against type, but he’s so versatile I can see him pulling it off beautifully.

As for Jane, I really like Carey Mulligan’s quiet intelligence, though it’s tough to imagine Carey Mulligan looking drab (the way Jane sees herself), even on a bad day. And Felicia Day (also very pretty) has a vulnerability that makes me think of Jane.

Some writers have daily routines they stick to when working on a project. What is a day in your writing life like?

When I’m not teaching or grading a stack of essays, I’ll wake up at 7, brew a pot of coffee, and settle down to work at 8:30 or 9. On nice days, I’ll go out to the front porch with my laptop. It’s my favorite place in the house to write, but I have two very exciteable dogs, and they scratch on the door to get out there with me, and then they have to bark at every human and animal that passes…so my porch time never lasts very long. I might write in a comfy chair in the living room, or maybe treat myself to a long session at a coffee shop—my other favorite writing spot. I’ll eat lunch while I work and keep going until one of my sons gets home from school or work.

What was the most difficult part of the writing process for Jane? What about the easiest?

Writing Jane was ridiculously fun. I loved entering into her world, and the excitement I felt for the project made it feel like playing. The most difficult part was when I had to stop writing and step back into my own life. Ordinarily, writer’s block is a very real part of my life, but Jane felt like the book I was born to write.


Do you have any interesting stories about the writing of this book that you would like to share?

I don’t know if this counts as a story, but while I was writing Jane I had a handy excuse for attending lots of rock shows: research!


Did you listen to music a lot while working on this project, and if so, what kind of soundtrack would Jane have?

 I’m too easily distracted to listen to music while I write, but Jane absolutely has a soundtrack, one that’s still growing. Here it is in its current form, taken straight from my ipod:

It Happens Every Day (Dar Williams)

Bad Reputation (Freedy Johnston)

American Slang (The Gaslight Anthem)

Parachute (Train)

The Lucky One (Alison Krauss & Union Station)

My Love Will Not Let You Down (Bruce Springsteen)

Romeo’s Tune (Steve Forbert)

Hey, Soul Sister (Train)

Don’t Dream It’s Over (Crowded House)

Your Mind’s Playing Tricks on You (John Wesley Harding)

Rumors (Josh Ritter)

Janey Don’t You Lose Heart (Bruce Springsteen)

Troubled Times (Dar Williams)

Intro/Sweet Jane (Lou Reed)


Can you tell us a little about your other writing projects and what you are working on right now?

I’ve got a poetry manuscript out in the world looking for a publisher. (It’s my second; my first, Skin, came out in 2002). Right now, though, my main focus is revising a young adult novel I finished drafting last summer.

Do you have any plans to retell another Bronte work?

In fact, the novel I’m working on is a modernization of Wuthering Heights, my other favorite novel. It’s set in a night club on the lower east side of New York, and the Heathcliff character is a punk rocker.


Is there anything you would like to say to your fans and potential readers?

I hope my readers have as much fun reading Jane as I did writing it, because I had a blast. And if they haven’t read Jane Eyre, I hope Jane moves them to check it out.




A special thanks to April Lindner for her fantastic interview, and if you would like to learn more about April and her upcoming projects please visit her website:

Interview Copyright 2010 Shylock Books

Photos courtesy of

Review:”Jane” by April Lindner

Book Reviews, Book Reviews, Uncategorized


“Jane” by April Lindner


Publication Date: October 11, 2010

Little, Brown & Co., Poppy Imprint

Complimentary Advance Review Copy

Listing Price: $17.99

Ages 15 & up.

Overall Grade: 4 out of 5 stars (****)



Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance. 

But there’s a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane’s much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love?

An irresistible romance interwoven with a darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers. 

Synopsis Courtesy of 

This book had me at “hello.” After glancing at the new Young Adult listings on I was immediately intrigued. A retelling of Jane Eyre? I received an ARC within a few days, and finished the book in under two days, glued as I was to the page.

I haven’t read the original Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte yet, so I was truly interested in how this book would be since I was a fresh reader without the prejudices or bias to the original work.

Jane Moore was an interesting character to watch on her journey from dead-broke college student to a rock musician’s nanny. She was a bit quiet, in that her character didn’t speak her mind too much and I hoped she would gain more confidence and strength than what was “told” on the page instead of shown. I imagine this was partly due to the character constraints of the original novel.

I really liked Thornfield Park and the image of the house and grounds were very distinct and had a moodiness to it that made the reader believe that something wasn’t quite right about it.

Nico Rathburn was a great Byronic character, moody, rich, narcissistic and self-absorbed—the bad guy all of the girls want and his interaction with his daughter was sweet and innocent, similar to the interaction between Mr. Darcy and Georgiana Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.

This book kept me glued to the pages, and although the narrative was periodically interrupted with already-outdated pop culture references like the original Conan O’Brien show, its lyrical and eloquent style felt true to the original book’s time period. It truly made me want to rush out and buy the original Jane Eyre, which I believe is a great thing this book can do.

April Lindner is a fresh talent with a knack for interpretation of the classics, and who knows what she might write next? A retelling of Wuthering Heights, maybe?… In any case, April Lindner is a welcome sight in the YA genre that is overflowing with zombie, werewolf, and vampire stories.


Watch the book trailer for “Jane” by April Lindner below!



Note: This book was a complimentary Advanced Review Copy courtesy of Little, Brown Books for Children, Poppy Imprint. Publication Date: October 11, 2010