It's funny - I rarely remember exactly where I got the specific ideas for my books. They come from so many places. Some pop into my head as I'm writing the book and others are stewing in there for weeks or months. Additionally, if I was smart (and sometimes I am!) I might've written down the idea to get it out of my head.
Some writers are plagued with too many ideas and not enough time. I'm one of those. Others are plagued by the opposite problem - they finish a book and then say "Uhhhh, what next?" But no matter which camp you fall into, your ideas, or as they're known in writing circles, your "high concepts", can make or break your career.
When I decided to write about bull riders, I tried to come up with a unique angle. Other, more well-known authors were already writing about them and I didn't want people to pick up my book, roll their eyes and put it back down. I've mentioned this before but perhaps not here, so I'll go over the story behind my bull rider books again.
Collision, book 2 in the series, was originally book 1. I thought about the idea of two athletes together, but wanted to do something different than, say, a female barrel racer and a male bull rider. I wanted people from two different worlds. How about a figure skater and a bull rider? Bingo! And Collision was born. I wrote Impact, which became book 1 of the series, right after Collision, and honestly, my high concept wasn't as unique. But my readers seem to like the book, so I must've done something right. I have a feeling Conner, the hero, has a lot to do with that. Tall, dark, and smoldering. Yum.
The idea for my most recent release, On Display, didn't even come from me. Picture the scene: Ellora's Cave Romanticon conference, October, 2012. Just in case you don't know, Ellora's Cave hires hot guys to pose for their covers exclusively. They're called Cavemen, and let's just say they can be intimidating when you first meet them. Not because they're not friendly -- they are -- but because these guys are MELT YOU INTO A PUDDLE AT THEIR FEET GORGEOUS.
You can see where that might be frightening. But being the brave little soldier I am, I walked into the meet and greet Thursday night armed with an icebreaker question... "Tell me about something I can put in a book." Well, one particular Caveman, David, told me about two things, both of which are now in books. The first thing was a sexual position and ended up in Velocity, book 4 of my bull rider series, and the cover David is on. Yes, I knew that he'd be my cover model when I wrote the scene with the position he told me about. I ain't no dummy. It's called inspiration. ;-)
The other idea was a little more vague. He mentioned an encounter he'd had in the past against a semi-private fence. That idea festered, and I do mean festered, in my brain for months. Finally I knew I needed to get it out of there since it wouldn't leave me alone. These wonderful, irritating ideas are called plot bunnies. They're like an earworm, only an idea rather than a song. And they can drive a writer crazy. So I wrote On Display, which features a sex scene against a semi-private fence. I think I'm going to have to buy David a drink at this year's Romanticon. Hmmm, maybe he'll give me more ideas if I do...