Friday, April 29, 2011

Day 6 - Guest post by Jaye Wells

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.

Remember to leave a comment and your email address for the chance to win a $50 Book Depository giftcard.


  1. Creativity is a funny thing, indeed. Mine usually hits me during boring classes, especially ones involving history, geography and bad teachers... or when I'm supposed to sleep early to wake up even earlier. LOL
    Thanks for sharing your story with us! ;)

    kah_cherub at hotmail dot com

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I usually read the first paragraph of a book before deciding whether or not to buy it. The first line of RHSC did what great first lines do--grabbed a hold of me and made me say "ooh" or ask "what the hell?" followed by "this is gonna be good."

  4. Noooooo- I had no idea that it was the last book! I heart Sabina! But I also think some series go on too long and I never get a satisfying ending. So I'm a big fat hypocrite. Loved hearing about how Sabina came to be. I hope your success has influenced you to write many, many more urban fantasies!


  5. "When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon," is the first line of The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley and is my all time favorite opening line. First lines need to grab the reader's attention and when I read Jaye's opening line I was intrigued which then means I'll read the first chapter (if not overly long) to see if I like the book. I liked it. A lot and have continued to read the series and cant' wait for the next in the series.

  6. Jaye Wells is a new-to-me author, so I haven't read any of the books yet. Wow, what a great first line. I love when I pick up a book that has me hooked from the start.

    marieimy (at) gmail (dot) com

  7. I've seen this series on for months, haven't got any chance to read it, i mean won it :) A new for me author books really intrigued me

    uniquas at ymail dot com

  8. This is a new to me author and she has definitely caught my interest. This sereis looks really good and I will definitely be putting them on my wishlist.

  9. Love these books!!! :) I'm so glad you thought of that one little line that started it all! ;)

  10. This is why I admire writers so much. I don't know where those inspirations come from, but I'm always amazed at the way they can turn them into a great story.

    jen at delux dot com

  11. What a great first line. I love reading about the creative process and how a single idea translates into a tangible product. Thanks!

  12. I loved the covers and titles! They're all new to me, but sound very good! I wish my hair was red... :(

    cris_mv at hotmail dot com

  13. thanks for sharing with us sad to say Jaye Wells is new to me but i absolutely love finding new authors and new books i havent read so thanks for bringing that to the table. i know i am going to be looking into your work


  14. I have the entire three book series on my bookshelf right now! I am desperately trying to free my agenda and get started on them!! I've heard so many great things about this series and cannot wait to get started!!!