On Inspiration

Waimea, 2015


Inspiration is a very personal thing. For me, it means whatever fuels my desire to click away from Facebook games and open my current Work in Progress. No one procrastinates better than a writer. Even though I love to write, my brain is tired from Real Life and it takes a great effort of willpower, or Inspiration, to begin writing for the day. Once I start, I get in the zone and can write uninterrupted for hours.

For my last two books, inspiration has come from the heart. UNDER THE ALMOND TREES follows three women in my family that I have always admired. Their stories rattled around in my head for years before I began the novel. My current piece is titled ALOHA SPIRIT. It is about the life of my husband’s grandmother. I love stories of real women contributed to the events of their times in very real albeit small and unknown ways. Setting  family stories down amid the historical fact makes me feel like I have a personal connection to well-known events.

Carmen James in front of a plantation cottage, Honolulu, 1920’s

Recently, my husband and I stayed at Waimea Plantation Cottages on Kauai. His grandmother was born on Kauai, scant miles from where we were. Nothing is left of the sugar plantation where her father worked as a dairy man but grassy fields. The plantation cottage we stayed in was built in 1905. It retains the rustic feel of its plantation days. Sitting in the kitchen, I could easily imagine a young girl’s life.

Carmen James lived with her parents and brother on Kauai until her mother passed away in childbirth. Shortly after that, the family moved to Oahu, where Carmen’s father left her in the care of a Hawaiian family. He took his son and went to the mainland to find work. Carmen lived on a sugar plantation near Diamond Head. She spent her entire childhood in a plantation cottage similar to the one where I wrote three chapters of her story.

Even though I am back in California, I can still feel the ambiance of that cottage set between the ocean and the mountains. I am nearly halfway done with the first draft of ALOHA SPIRIT. May the memories continue to inspire me!

7 responses to “On Inspiration”

  1. That’s quite something you have for inspiration! Keep going x

  2. The women of my family have inspired many of my stories as well, though I tend to write them into fantasy worlds instead of trying to recapture the real history. You’ve inspired me to think about dabbling in this sort of historical fiction, as well. I’ll have to put that on my TBW list. 🙂 Thanks for a great post!

    1. Me, too, Karin! UNDER THE ALMOND TREES was my first effort at making it more historical, and I really enjoyed writing it.

  3. I love the description of Hawaii. When doing NaNoWriMo, I also needed to be constantly reminded to start writing and to get away from the TV. What topic are you writing on for your next book?

    1. The Hawaii book is about 2/3 done with the first draft. I have an idea for another flying horse book after that, and also another woman in history book. Not sure which one I’ll write first.

  4. I really liked your post. I sometimes do get tired of the real world. Do you recommend anything good to do when you just want to escape the real world?

    1. Well, I may be biased, Ethan, but I would write or read!

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