Fri
Jul 23 2010 4:41pm

Imagine

There are few requirements to being a writer. All that’s really, truly, required is a good imagination, the ability to tell a good story, and the persistence to keep chasing your dream.

There are very few other jobs out there that let you make stuff up (lie, essentially) and get paid for it. Who knew all those tall tales I told my parents when I was little would come in handy one day? When caught, I should have just explained that I was building my résumé to avoid punishment. (If my kids are reading this, don’t try that excuse on me.)

In my Lucy Valentine series, the basic premise is that Lucy is a psychic who comes from a long line of matchmakers who received the ability to read auras from Cupid himself. That cute little cherub, however, also cursed the family. This leads to all sorts of mayhem.

Where do story ideas like that come from? Sure, some elements from the book come straight from headlines. The missing little boy in Truly, Madly came from a local news story, one that didn’t have a happy ending. That was one time where I used my vivid imagination as therapy.

Other storylines are just there, born out of pure imagination. It’s just a matter of playing the “what if” game. What if there was a psychic who loses the inherited ability to read auras but gains a different ability altogether? What if she “sees” a diamond ring on the hand of a skeleton? What if her matchmaking client might be guilty of murder? What if she meets a guy, possibly the love of her life, and has very different kind psychic reaction when they touch? What if she has a grandmother who can’t help but get involved in her granddaughter’s love life? What if a little boy is lost and she thinks she can’t do anything to find him? What if, what if, what if…

As a writer, my imagination is my greatest strength.

On the flip side, in my normal everyday life, my vivid imagination is a weakness.

I’m the first to think that the sirens I hear in the distance are because one of my kids was driving and had an accident, and I think the same thing if they’re more than five minutes late. Or, I’ll be on the way out of town and I’ll start thinking I left the iron on and have to turn around. If I’m home alone and hear a noise, I immediately imagine an intruder is in the house (this is often embarrassing when it’s only the freezer making ice cubes). Don’t get me started on calls in the middle of the night.

I can hardly watch those medical shows on TV (Mystery Diagnosis for example) without thinking I, my husband, one of my kids, family members, close friends, acquaintances, even the clerk at Kroger (she has a pronounced twitch) might have some sort of rare disease, gene mutation, or brain tumor.

Thankfully, writing helps me cope with my overactive imagination. I take my everyday fears and put them into books, twisting them into what ifs. My own kind of blessing and curse, I suppose.

I really wouldn’t have it any other way (though, for the record, if my kids could get home on time I’d appreciate it).


Heather Webber grew up in a suburb of Boston, where she learned early on how to ride the T, skip rocks in the ocean, and root for the Red Sox. As a young mother, she tried her hand at writing novels and hasn’t looked back. These days she lives in southwestern Ohio with her high school sweetheart and their three children. She is currently hard at work on her next novel. Find her on her blog.

This article is part of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Month: ‹ previous | index | next ›
15 comments
Nancy Bradford
1. Nancy Bradford
Great piece Heather.

This tells enough about the book and really a great deal about you.
Nancy Bradford
2. Linda Leszczuk
For those of you who haven't read Truly, Madly, it's wonderful mix of mystery and fantasy with a splash of romance and a delightful main character. I highly recommend it.

And no, I'm not a relative.
Nancy Bradford
3. HeatherWebber
Hi Nancy--thanks so much for stopping by. It does say a lot about me, doesn't it? Like how neurotic I am!
Nancy Bradford
4. HeatherWebber
You may not be a relative, Linda, but I'm thinking about adopting you! Or at the very least, hiring you for PR. Thank you!
Nancy Bradford
5. Krista Davis
It's wonderful to be blessed with such a great imagination, Heather! But don't discount those nagging thoughts about the iron being on. One of my neighbors called recently because she thought she might have left the coffee on when she hit the road. Turns out she did. It all ended well -- she called before it cooked completely dry, but it taught me a good lesson about listening to my own wild imagination!

~ Krista
Nancy Bradford
6. Leann Sweeney
Great blog, Heather! I keep learning more about you all the time. Cannot wait to read Truly, Madly.
Nancy Bradford
7. HeatherWebber
Wow, Krista! I guess that's a lesson for listening to your instincts. I think I just need to figure out how to fine tune mine. I'm so glad everything worked out for your friend.

Hi Leann! Thanks for coming by. I hope you love Truly, Madly, and that it'll be a great reward for turning in your book. :) Can't wait to see what Jillian is up to next.
Nancy Bradford
8. Ellery Adams
This post explains why your books feel very genuine. That's not an easy feeling to create for the reader, but your "voice" is both convincing and melodious - like a well-orgaznied sympathy. And I agree with Linda. If you haven't read Truly, Madly, do so quickly before the sequel hits the stand in August!
Nancy Bradford
9. HeatherWebber
Awww, Ellery, you gave me warm + fuzzies. Thank you. Hugs.
Nancy Bradford
10. Dru Ann
Great interview. I love your imagination because it ends up in a great book. Can't wait to read the next book in the Lucy series, which by the way will be out in August 2010.
Nancy Bradford
11. HeatherWebber
Thank you, Dru Ann! You're the sweetest. Love the plug, too. :)
Nancy Bradford
12. Louiis Rigod
My wife bought six copies of this book as gifts for her friends and then bought a copy for the Library. I believe you must be a very good writer.
Nancy Bradford
13. Mary Jane Maffini
Heather - you sure do have a great imagination. I love your new series and can't wait to read the second book.

MJ

Charlotte Adams mysteries
Nancy Bradford
14. Wendy Lyn Watson
Heather, your imagination is such a gift to the rest of us ... I'm so excited for Deeply, Desperately (out soon, right? Need to pre-order *now*). :)
Nancy Bradford
15. HeatherWebber
Hi Louis, your wife is one of my favorite people. She's amazing (and has great taste in books!). Thanks for coming by--it's great to see you here.

Thanks so much, MJ! I've been following your trip through NY on Facebook--what fun, you lucky girl.

SWAK, Wendy! I need to hire you for PR, too. I could use some of your ice cream recipes from I Scream, You Scream. It's hot here--almost 100* forecasted today. Perfect for staying in with a good book.

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