This Is the First Line of the Rest of Your Life By Jaye Wells
Inspiration can strike at strange times. Talk to a dozen writers and they'll give you a dozen odd locations where they've had an idea--in the shower, on the toilet, eating a bagel, at a funeral, etc. But for me, the most important piece of inspiration I've had so far hit me while I was driving down the road. I remember very clearly cruising down Beltline Road in Addison, Texas. I was approaching a stoplight and thinking about a story I needed to write for a friend's flash fiction contest. At the time, I was just another aspiring writer. The contest in question was a for-fun event my friend hosted on his blog a couple of times a year. He'd post an image that would serve as the jumping off point for all the stories entered. For this contest, he'd posted a picture of a full moon peeking from between clouds. Since I already wrote paranormal fiction, this image was perfect. But the pressure was on. I didn't want to write just another paranormal story. Which is why, on that sunny afternoon, I was thinking about what I wanted to write as I ran errands. I was about 100 yards from the light when a voice spoke in my head. "Digging graves is hell on a manicure," the female voice whispered. The car might have swerved--or maybe I'm just imagining it did. But that one little line, that one perfect little line, grabbed me by the throat. I pulled to a stop at the light and tore my car apart looking for a piece of paper, a pen, anything. I didn't want to forget it. But of course, I wouldn't forget it. How could I? A character that would say something like that was someone I wanted to get to know. "Digging graves is hell on a manicure," ended up being the first line for that flash fiction piece titled, "I Can Dig It." The 250-word story was about a vampire who was burying a body when she is discovered by another vampire who threatens her and ends up dead, too. The story got a lot of great feedback in the contest. So great, in fact, that I decided to write an entire novel about this intriguing female vampire with the ironic view on life and a violent streak. That book, of course, turned into RED-HEADED STEPCHILD. RHSC was the first urban fantasy I ever wrote--before that I'd written romances that will never see the light of day. And that first urban fantasy novel became my first published novel. Today, I'm working on book five of the Sabina Kane series. It's the last book in the series, which is the first last book in a series I've ever written. My how life has changed since RED-HEADED STEPCHILD debuted. But looking back, I see how one small first--that one line--lead to a string of other firsts and how, at the end of the day, you never know when a simple car ride can change your whole life.
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