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Tracing Inspiration

“The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. ” Alan Alda

When I approached the keyboard each morning, coffee in hand, and began writing any of the books from my Cumberland Creek Series, I felt comforted by my old friends there. But I became a little antsy, a new character kept pecking at me. She might have fit in at Cumberland Creek with my circle of scrapbookers. But she felt strong enough to develop a book or a series around.

It’s hard to know what to do in this case, isn’t it? Invite her in? Start something new?

I love my Cumberland Creek characters and there’s probably still more exploration and fun to come with them. But sometimes, if you can figure out where you’re gut is leading you, it’s best to make the leap and try something new. So I did.

I’ve been thinking about what led to the creation of Cora Chevalier, the character who first grabbed me to build this new series around. (first one just released: Death among the Doilies.) As a writer of crafty mysteries, albeit scrapbooking, I tried to keep up with crafty happenings and the latest trends.

I kept reading about these fabulous craft retreats. I nearly drool every time I think about getting away to do nothing but craft. No meals to prepare, no errands to run, no homework checks. Wow.

And in the mean time, I’d run across posts about the healing nature of crafting, especially knitting and crochet. There’s a lot written about it.

And this character poked harder at me. What could put her in the life situation where she could run a craft retreat? Why would she want to do it? What is her mission?

Cora leapt out of my imagination and onto the computer screen when I came up with her back story, which is what kept her out of Cumberland Creek—as she was a social worker in Pittsburgh (my home city). I imagine her as a cross between Zooey Deschanel and Stevie Nicks (odd combo, isn’t it?), and as she poked at me, she became more clear to me.

She definitely needed her own series.

It was a thrilling decision to make—and a scary one, as well.

My readers expect Cumberland Creek, and I’ve been very pleased to write those books. (And I still may write more!) Of course, I don’t want to disappoint them. I think they will like Cora, her friend Jane, and Ruby. Also, I’ve decided that my Cumberland Creek characters will visit my new town of Indigo Gap, as well. I hope that tempts my readers to come along for the new series.

How it’s come together is better than I expected. Cora left behind Pittsburgh and her job at a women’s shelter, which created a life-threatening anxiety disorder for her. Cora wants to help, but she is not cut out to be a social worker. Perhaps she’s found her way as a craft retreat purveyor and blogger, still helping in a different, way less stressful manner. Not completely stress free, of course, else we would not have a murder series.

Writers, how do you make the decision to start something new?

Readers, do you follow your favorite writers as they start new series or venture into other kinds of books?

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