Weekly Novel Writing Inspiration #12

Weekly Features, Weekly Novel Writing Inspiration

The Novel Writing Inspiration feature is a weekly meme begun right here on Shylock and Shakespeare highlighting visual inspiration as writing prompts.

Feel free to post links to your own NWI memes in the comments!


Forest Moon, Wales.


Giselle in just a frame

paris in winter


ethereo | Aaron Choi

Waddesdon Manor - Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire, England

I can't get over this.

Irving Berlin, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

Vintage war love....

Tom Hiddleston in the November 2013 issue of British GQ by Dylan Don


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.


Weekly Novel Writing Inspiration

Weekly Features, Weekly Novel Writing Inspiration

The Novel Writing Inspiration feature is a meme begun right here on Shylock Books highlighting visual inspiration as writing prompts.

Feel free to post links to your own NWI memes in the comments!

Guest Post: Behind the Scenes with “Phantom” author Laura DeLuca on her Brand New Short Story “Jessica”

Author Interviews

Laura DeLuca, author of “Phantom”  has stopped by to bring us behind-the-scenes on her brand new short story, “Jessica.” 


Jessica is a little Halloween surprise my publisher arranged for my readers. Today, I thought I’d give you a behind of scenes look at how this short story came to be. I usually prefer to write full length a novel as opposed to shorts, but this one was sort of thrust upon me. I wrote this story almost two decades ago during my freshman year of college. The story was influenced by two very interesting people–Jessica Pirnik Gittle and James T . Kirk.

Jessica & Laura-Wildwood Catholic High School-1993

This is a photo of me with Jessica. She was one of my best and closest friends in high school. We did everything together. We were in the chorus, the yearbook staff, the school newsletter (I was editor, of course), the ecology club, and just about every other club that wasn’t a sport. I don’t do sports. We met when we were freshman in high school because we were seated alphabetically. Her name was Pirnik and my maiden name was Rice. Yes, it was a small school so there wasn’t anyone in between us in our homeroom. So, this is my best friend who I laughed and cried with, who always supported me in my writing and in all my crazy schemes. Yet, she never got a part in one of my books. She doesn’t even remember this, but she used to bug me about it all the time. It wasn’t until after we graduated from high school and I was in college that I finally put her name in a story. That story, of course, was Jessica.

Fall Formal at Stockton-I was 17

So this brings me to James T. Kirk. I bet you thought I meant the one from the spaceship. Well, no offense to the captain, but that’s not the James. T. Kirk I’m talking about here. I’m referring to a professor at my old college, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. I was in his creative writing class back in 1994, and one of our projects was to write a Halloween themed story that was set on the college campus.

This is me at Lake Fred-1994

At first, I wasn’t into this project at all. I like inspiration to flow naturally. I don’t like trying to force it. I remember sitting in my dorm, chewing he edge of my pen, coming up with nothing, and the deadline was the hours away. Then, feeling a homesick moment, I started to flip through an old photo album I had brought with me. I saw that picture of Jessica and me together. It reminded me that she had asked for her name to be a story. I thought it would be even better if her name was the title of that story. From that point, the idea flowed pretty flawlessly.

Nature Trail at Stockton

Bringing the campus into the story was even less challenging. It’s truly stunning, especially in the fall, and with its circling trails and lily covered ponds, it’s the perfect setting for all kinds of spooky happenings. I changed the name of the college for the story, but the scenery remains pretty much the same. Stockton is surrounded by acres of woods and there really is a beautiful lake there named Lake Fred. There isn’t really a White Lady haunting the lake, at least not that I know of. Still, I if I were a guy, I wouldn’t want to be wondering around Lake Fred all alone on Halloween night…

So that’s the story behind the story.

If you want to grab a copy of this short paranormal thriller for yourself, it’s available exclusively on Amazon in e-book format for only $0.99.


Want to know more about Laura DeLuca?

Interview with Jus Accardo, Author of “TOUCH”

Author Interviews

Can you tell us a little bit about your debut novel, TOUCH and what
compelled you to write this particular story?

TOUCH is about a seventeen year old girl who lives to piss off her cold
and distant dad. She brings home a guy she meets after a party one night
in hopes of getting her dad’s attention–and it does. Just not the way she

As for what compelled me…nothing particular, really. My brain just spits
random ideas out. I was sitting on line, waiting for coffee, and got this
image of a girl being chased through the woods. She’s barefoot and the
ground dies as she runs.

What first drew you to writing paranormal romance?

I’ll read anything with a good story and compelling characters, but my
first love is paranormal. It seemed like a natural fit.

If you could cast your characters for the movie version of TOUCH who
would you pick to play Kale and Dez?

Dez would totally be Avril Lavigne and Kale… When i was writing TOUCH I
pictured him as a young Ben Barnes, but after seeing the cover, I want
that guy. Whoever he is, he’s perfection!

What is a typical day of writing like for you?

I usually sit down to work between 6 and 7 a.m. I’ll write most days until
12 and then take a break to run errands. I’m usually back in front of my
machine by 3 and I stay there till midnight at the least. On a normal day,
I average between 4 and 10 k a day give or take.

What are some of the other projects you have written?

Well, I have some early things that aren’t fit for my dogs to read, and I
have some later books–the trilogy that Denazen and Marshal Cross were
actually born from–that I’d love to revisit and rewrite. I’m also working
on the first book in a new paranormal series, but it’s too early to talk
about that yet 🙂

Are there any scenes in  that were inspired by true events?

There’s a bear scene that was inspired by real events. Other than that,
there’s none I can think of. There were a few scenes inspired by music,

How do you feel about the yearly tradition of NaNoWriMo? Have you ever
participated in it and do you have any advice for those currently in the
early stages of it?

I usually do it. I’m going to try this year, but things are a little
crazy. My advice would be set yourself a schedule and stick to it. Every
word counts (There are NO small word counts!). Each one brings you closer
to your goal. So you only got 200 words today? So? Who cares? That’s 200
closer you are to 50k. Keep moving forward! And good luck!

Were there any books you read as a child that affected you directly as a
writer today?

All of S.E. Hinton’s books and Mary Stanton’s The Heavenly Horse From the
Outermost West were the big ones.

Do you have plans for a sequel to TOUCH?

Oh, hell yes 🙂 TOXIC, the second book in the series is with my editor
now. I’m planning to start book three in a few weeks.

What would you say to any potential readers out there that are interested
in reading TOUCH?

If you love a strong heroine who doesn’t need to a white knight to swoop
in and save her, and a hero that’s both sweet and innocent while being
utterly badass at the same time, TOUCH is for you 🙂


Author Bio:

Jus Accardo is the author of YA paranormal romance and urban fantasy
fiction. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her
husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald. Her first book,
Touch, is due out in November 2011 from Entangled Publishing. She is
represented by Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

Touch Blurb:

“When a strange boy tumbles down a river embankment and lands at her feet,
seventeen-year-old adrenaline junkie Deznee Cross snatches the opportunity
to piss off her father by bringing the mysterious hottie with ice blue
eyes home.

Except there’s something off with Kale. He wears her shoes in the shower,
is overly fascinated with things like DVDs and vases, and acts like she’ll
turn to dust if he touches her. It’s not until Dez’s father shows up,
wielding a gun and knowing more about Kale than he should, that Dez
realizes there’s more to this boy – and her father’s “law firm” – than she

Kale has been a prisoner of Denazen Corporation – an organization devoted
to collecting “special” kids known as Sixes and using them as weapons –
his entire life. And, oh yeah, his touch? It kills. Dez and Kale team up
with a group of rogue Sixes hellbent on taking down Denazen before they’re
caught and her father discovers the biggest secret of all. A secret Dez
has spent her life keeping safe.

A secret Kale will kill to protect.”

Title: Touch by Jus Accardo
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
ePub ISBN: 978-1-937044-44-2
Print ISBN: 978-1-937044-45-9
Release Date: November 1, 2011

Buy Links:


Barnes & Noble:

Website: http://www.jusaccardo.com/

Blog: http://www.jusaccardo.com/category/blog/

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!

Interview: Pamela Keyes, Author of “The Jumbee”

Author Interviews, Book Reviews

After reading and then reviewing “The Jumbee” by Pamela Keyes, I knew that there were quite an extraordinary author behind this exceptional book and am excited to present an interview with Pamela Keyes! You can read the review for The Jumbee here.

Can you tell us a little about The

I loved your review, which said
everything I might hope to say here. But maybe I can add a review
from Booklist, which summarizes The Jumbee on the amazon.com site.

A teenage actress falls for a
mysterious stranger in this haunting romance, reminiscent of The
Phantom of the Opera. High-school senior Esti Legard and her mother
have moved to the Caribbean after the death of Esti’s father, a
famous Shakespearean actor. While playing Juliet at her prestigious
performing-arts high school, Esti starts receiving acting instruction
from a disembodied voice in the theater. Frightened that she is being
courted by a jumbee, or ghost, Esti tries to switch her attention to
charming flesh-and-blood Rafe, but she continues to be seduced by the
velvety-voiced persona, which seems to read her mind. When Esti’s
real and imagined worlds collide in the climax of a tropical
hurricane, her secrets are revealed, along with those of her
conflicted island community, where descendants of slaves and slave
owners alike live in an uneasy peace. The lushly described exotic
setting breathes new life into the classic star-crossed story line.
Romance fans will enjoy the fascinating locale along with the
slow-building suspense and incidental acting lessons.

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

I have two young children (ages 5 and
7) so my writing time is limited to when they are in school or with a
babysitter. Generally I’ll get them off to school, then race to my
computer and write until they come home. My muse is that ticking

What was the most difficult part of
the writing process for The Jumbee?

The revisions. For one thing, my
original manuscript had Alan — like The Phantom — considerably
older than Esti. But that dynamic didn’t feel right for a young adult
novel — I wanted it creepy, but that was much too creepy — so I
reworked the entire manuscript to make him younger, which instantly
worked so much better. I had a few other far-reaching changes like
that, and it seemed to drag on forever.

Since The Jumbee is based off of the
Phantom of the Opera, did one of the interpretations of the story in
film, book, or the Broadway show influence you to write this book?

I fell in love with the plot and the
character of The Phantom when I saw the Broadway show. As I walked
out of the theater, I knew I had to somehow turn it into a YA story.
When I was writing it, however, Leroux’s novel influenced most of the
twists and turns in The Jumbee.

If The Jumbee were made into a
feature film, who would you cast as your leading characters and why?

What a fun question! I’ve always adored
the voice of Patrick Stewart, but he’s too old now for Alan. Robert
Pattinson has a great, sexy voice, and I think he would be awesome as
Alan. Darryl Stephens would make a very cute Rafe, and so would Shad
Moss. I think Drew Barrymore would be perfect as Esti’s mom. As for
Esti, If only Chloe Moretz were a couple years older…

What subjects would you like to see
more of in today’s Young Adult fiction market?

I’m fairly liberal, so I love books
that push the envelope of what is traditionally acceptable. I would
love to see more interracial relationships, more questioning of the
absolute “good vs bad” (because good and bad are always
more complex than that). The best books, imho, are the ones that open
the minds of teenagers and make them question the reality of right
and wrong.

Can you tell us about some of your
favorite books and authors?

Wintergirls (Laurie Halse Anderson);
Trial of Tompa Lee (Ed Hoornaert); Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes
(Chris Crutcher); Harry Potter (hmm, guess who?); Wrinkle in Time
(Madeleine L’Engle); Girl With the Dragon Tattoo; J.R.R.Tolkien; Anne
McCaffrey. I have so many favorites…. 🙂 And I haven’t even begun
with the classics. The Great Gatsby; Being There….

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

Mostly I treasure the time I spent
living in the Virgin Islands, which gave me such a wonderful insight
into life in the West Indies.

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

I listened to the Phantom soundtrack,
of course. I also listened to a lot of Caribbean music – calypso,
soca, steel drum bands. There are a lot of great USVI bands. And then
I have my favorite old standbys, eclectic singers like Tori Amos;
Fisher; Bangguru; Bjork. What kind of soundtrack would The Jumbee
have? The Avatar soundtrack gives me goosebumps, with its blended
emotional & tribal nuances. When The Jumbee reaches that level,
I’ll have a talk with James Horner.

Why did you choose to veer away from
the musical theme in the original story to a more dramatic and
Shakespearean approach in The Jumbee?

I’ve always loved theater, and it
seemed like such a logical move – particularly for a high school
setting. I mean, how many high school kids can really relate to

Alan, like The Phantom, is an
intriguing, bittersweet and complex character, and not much is ever
said about what happens to him after the story ends. What kind of
journey do you see Alan taking when your story ends?

I have a lot of ideas, so I’ll be
thrilled if it goes in the direction of a sequel, so that I can find
out what does happen to him. Things would have to get a lot worse for
Alan before they got better, of course. That’s what the best writers
must do to their beloved characters, unfortunately.

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

I have two previous middle-grade novels
(The Rune of Zachary Zimbalist and its sequel) about a connecting
dimension linking the past to the future, and what happens if history
is altered by changing the past. I’m also three weeks from finishing
my next manuscript (yay!), which is a paranormal historical YA
fiction. In that one, my main teen characters (from three different
centuries) each struggle with the meaning of “being good.”
I also have a novel further down the line that addresses the question
of gender identity. Like I said, I love books that make teens think
and open their minds.

Do you ever see yourself writing a
sequel to The Jumbee?

I would love to write a sequel. The
Jumbee has gotten a lot of great reviews, so I think it’s a good
possibility. Danielle’s sister, Marielle, would likely develop into a
major character. As soon as I’m done with my next two projects….

What advice would you give to
potential writers that you wish you had been told?

First of all, write the story that you
are passionate about. If you try and fit into a trend, chances are
the trend will be over before you ever get published. On the other
hand, if your novel is outstanding, it may create its own trend.
Secondly, find a way to condense your story into an amazing
single-sentence summary. After you’ve done that, expand it into a
single-paragraph summary, and then into a one-page summary. The most
powerful marketing tool is a fabulous synopsis, and all three of the
above synopses are essential. It can be hard to do, but here’s a
great trick I got from a recent SCBWI writers’ retreat: 1) After
(inciting incident) a (character description) must (primary action)
in order to (goal), or risk (stakes) before (ticking clock).

Translating this to The Jumbee, we
have: Moving to a tropical island after the death of her famous
father, a high school theater student must come face-to-face with
local superstitions in order to escape from the shadow of her famous
father, or risk losing everyone she loves.

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

I love knowing that I’ve touched people
with my work. If my writing makes a true difference in the life of a
single person, then I can’t ask for much more. Although I wouldn’t
turn down a stint on the NYT bestsellers’ list. 🙂

About Pamela Keyes:

I spent most of my life trying to decide what to be when I grew up. I’ve
always been an avid reader and traveler, and I actually wrote my first book when
I was nine. My family and friends teased me through middle school and high
school about the endless stories I wrote, but somehow it never occurred to me
that writing could be a career.

So I studied science and English in high school, German and math and
psychology in college, and I traveled whenever I could. I settled into
architecture in graduate school, and eventually became a registered architect. I
drew building plans for years, but finally found myself writing stories again in
my spare time. And so, it came full-circle.

As a writer, I can be anything I want, anywhere in the universe I want to be.
I’ve lived in the lush tropical islands of the Caribbean, the remote
Texas-Mexican Border, the Bavarian Alps, and the thriving cities of Denver and
Seattle. Through all my adventures, my heart has always belonged to the Arizona
Sonoran desert. I now live in Tucson with my husband and two children.

Bio Courtesy of Author’s website.