• Karen Baney

Unexpected Story Inspiration

Sometimes one simple sentence or thought creates a flurry of inspiration for me. One of the ways I approach writing and scene development is to think about how what external stimulus would invoke a strong emotional response in my character.


In Joy for Mourning, I knew I had to write a scene where Joshua Harrison sees Hannah Colter again.

She was the object of his unrequited love. It had to happen.


So, I asked myself, what would have to happen to trigger a strong emotional response from Joshua? It had been eight years since he had seen her. He knew she was probably married to Will Colter.


Then I thought, what if Hannah had what Joshua wanted: a family. What if that family was so big it further illustrated how little Joshua had?


That thought led to me developing the number of children and birthdates for Hannah and Will Colter. In Joy for Mourning, Hannah had five boys. Why boys? Since I was trying to invoke a response in Joshua, boys seemed the stronger choice. Joshua had a daughter. He did not have a son, so seeing Hannah’s five sons, would have triggered the response.


The choice of sons was also because my hope as I continue to write stories, is to carry the Colter name on for generations to come. To do that, I increased my chances of finding hooks for future stories by giving Hannah and Will lots of sons.


That decision, then inspired me for the series I’m currently writing. The Colter Sons series. Now I have five sons to write about and I’m thrilled to explore the ways each son is unique. Each son’s relationship with Will and Hannah will be different. Each will struggle in different ways to move from boyhood to manhood. They have such a strong example in their father. For some, they will butt heads. For others, they will hope to please Will.


So, five new novels are in the works, all inspired by one little thought in one scene.

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