Tangos With the Muse
The muse has a mind of her own; every writer knows that. She'll show up anytime and anywhere, with a complete disregard for what else you have going on at the time. And I've found that when she comes around, and she wants to tango, I need to put my dancing shoes on and follow her lead. The relationship can be ephemeral, and she oftentimes leaves as quickly as she comes.
Like those times when she visits and I'm in that groggy place between wakefulness and sleep. If I don't will myself out of bed to find a pen and paper, by the time my alarm clock goes off, the muse has gone on to dance with someone else-and she's taken her great ideas with her.
She can be fickle that way.
But luckily there are other times, like when the idea for my novel Euthanasia was presented to me, that the muse punches me in the face and the sting of her visit stays with me like a week-long shiner.
Flashback to the mid-nineties and all of the talk shows that came along with it. Apparently, she couldn't reach me in any other way that afternoon, so she leapt through the television screen. I was watching a talk show that day, and the topic was haunted houses where they show you aborted fetuses and other very un-Halloween-like items. Aside from feeling like it was a little odd, I didn't think too much about it-and I certainly wasn't planning on writing anything about the abortion issue.
But that is one of the tricks she uses: She exposes you to something that you don't really connect with at the time and she needles you with it until your story comes to life on the page.
My bus ride to work was about 45 minutes, which gave the muse more than enough time to grind the wheels in my head with ideas of activists gone berserk. I thought that the haunted house story was pretty far out-I'd always considered Halloween to be a light and fun holiday after all. But then I took the idea and ran with it.
A lot of what the muse does can be boiled down to two little words: "what if?". And, it turned out, the haunted house led to a lot of questions that became plot points in the novel: What if someone started calling women and pretending to be their aborted fetus? What kind of person would conjure up something like that? How would that person get other people to help? What effects would it have on the women?
By the time I got to work that evening, the answers were beginning to come to me in the form of my antagonist Tobin Bartell. The first thing I did after I punched in for my shift was write down a sentence on a napkin. It ended up being the first line of Euthanasia.
I never know when the muse is going to show up, but I'm always thrilled when she does because she always brings gifts.Euthanasia Cover (3)ABOUT EUTHANASIA
When Alex left the clinic that day, she thought she could move on from the rape that left her pregnant and the agonizing decision to have an abortion. That is, until the child she thought she left behind contacts her. Terrorized by mysterious phone calls and guilt, Alex feels her sanity slipping away as she becomes convinced that she must find the man who brutalized her to make a family for her dead daughter.
Anti-abortion crusader Tobin Bartell wouldn't have it any other way. As The Leader of The Movement, when he's not organizing protests or giving speeches, he's orchestrating a campaign of harassment against women like Alex…and plotting to kill the local abortion doctor.
And Tobin has no shortage of candidates for the job: Paige wants money, Courtney wants love, Derek wants to belong. Tobin just wants it done…and it doesn't matter to him who does it.
Life. Death. Murder. It's all the same to them.