Saturday, March 29, 2014

Of Inspiration by Louise Caiola, author of 'The Making of Nebraska Brown'

Of Inspiration 

A rolling pink Western sky. A robin at the feeder. The crescendo of waves breaking on the shore. Bet you thought I was going to name these beauties and others as points of writing inspiration. And why wouldn’t they be? Who among us creative-type would not find those scenes particularly motivational? Yet, exploring and exploiting nature are just a fraction of where we can seek out the Muse. As I’ve said before, I am a shower-thinker. Water acts as a conductor of literary energy for me. I have a writer-friend who finds soaking in a tub to be the ticket to inspirational heaven. Ahh, those blessed bubbles.

Sometimes however, our days are thick with the mundane details of life. The trips to the dry cleaners. The fender-benders. The dental exam. No time to de-stress. Barely time to breathe. Where then do we find inspiration during moments like this? Through the years I have learned to find the literal lemonade in the lemons by employing the use of my senses. It’s actually quite easy to do. Look around you. Right now. What do you see? I see my pup lounging on the carpet in fingers of sunshine splayed through the window glass. Listen. What do you hear? I hear the soft steady ticking of the clock in the hallway, reminding me that time is a constant presence. Inhale. What do you smell? I smell the soapy-fresh condensation seeping under the bathroom door after my son has finished washing. Go to your kitchen. Open the fridge. What can you taste, right this second? How about the snap of an apple skin as its sweet juice slides down your chin? And touch. This one is the simplest of all. Lay your hands on that old chenille spread that once belonged to Grandma. Or that soft denim jacket you can’t bear to part with, you know, the one you’ve had since high school.

There are stories in each of those examples. Potential scenes. Possible fabric for that chapter you’re working on that needs a little something more. These aren’t just the trappings of the mundane. They can be the details of inspiration. You only need to adjust your view.

New Adult Mystery
Date Published:

The last thing eighteen-year-old Ann Leigh remembers is running from her boyfriend in a thick Nebraska cornfield. This morning she’s staring down a cool Italian sunrise, an entire continent from the life she once knew. The events of the eighteen months in between have inexplicably gone missing from her memory.

All at once she’s living with Tommy, an attractive, young foreigner asking for her continued love. Though he’s vaguely familiar, she recalls a boy named Shane in America who she reluctantly agreed to marry. Juggling a new world while her old one is still M.I.A is difficult enough without the terrifying movie scenes spinning a dizzy loop in her mind: glimpses of a devastating house fire, a romance gone wrong, an unplanned pregnancy, and a fractured family – each claiming to be part of who she once was – a girl and a past somehow discarded.

Ann Leigh must collect the pieces of herself to become whole again, but she doesn’t know who to trust especially when Tommy’s lies become too obvious to ignore. And above all, her heart aches to discover what became of the child she may or may not have given birth to.

The Making of Nebraska Brown tells the story of one girl’s coming apart from the inside and the great lengths she’ll go to reclaim herself and find her way home.

Read an excerpt:
He was kissing me, and I couldn’t make it stop. His breath smelled like radishes; I wanted to vomit. He kept saying how he was crazy about me. I wanted to will myself deaf. Instead, I picked a fight. Pretended I was angry about him having to work at the restaurant on my birthday. I didn’t care all that much. It was just an excuse to pull away, turn away from him. I imagined soon I would make an escape, leave my whole life behind, go to Hollywood, or Asia or France or New York. 
He took my shoulders and spun me around. Then he reached down into the pocket of his jeans. Said he was planning to do this more creatively. But no matter, he was doing it anyway. Dropped down on one knee in the dry, grimy roadway. He said if I say yes I would make him happier than a pig in a mud puddle. Said he would die trying to make me happier than that for eternity. 
Were pigs happy in mud? Or was that some bullshit myth? How can a person ever know? 
I watched two fat, sloppy tears steamroll down his cheeks. I whispered his name. Shane. 
Mom said it’s a real man, with a real love for a woman, that’ll cry for her. And she’s smart enough for me to believe her. With the palm of his hand, he swiped at his face. The nub shot me a wave. Say it, Ann Leigh. Say you will. He was begging, pleading. Both knees on the ground now. Yes, I’ll marry you, Shane. I will. He rose, pushed his mouth on mine. I tasted radishes. I wanted to puke. This must be what true love feels like.

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About Louise Caiola

As a young girl who spent her allowance on Nancy Drew mysteries, Louise realized that one day, she might have a story of her own to tell. Maybe even more than one story. After years focused on raising her children she eventually reconnected with her passion for creative writing. She soon began to craft a large collection of short stories which were published in the inspirational online magazine, Shortly thereafter, she authored her first novel, Wishless, a contemporary YA, released in 2011.

Louise devotes a portion of each day to honing her skills. She has several other novels currently in various stages of development. A confirmed bibliophile, Louise enjoys reading outdoors on a warm spring day and watching her pup chase leaves on a breeze. She looks forward to meeting others who share her love of the written word and invites you to visit her blog, her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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