Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What Inspires Creative Ideas

Welcome to week two of the Valentine's Month Blog tour. Visit as many of the eleven blogs as you can, leave a comment, and you're automatically entered in a chance to win weekly prizes and a grand prize worth over $50.

Blog participants are:
Linda Kage-, Amie Louellen-,Caroline Clemmons-, Jennifer Jakes- Nuest-, Lynne Roberts-, Maeve Greyson- ,Amy Corwin-, Jill James-, Kat Duncan-

Today, my guest is Amy Corwin, rose expert, critique partner extraordinaire, and award winning author of Regency romance, paranormal romance, and cozy mysteries.
So, Amy where do you get those intriquing ideas for your novels?
It’s so hard to figure out where a creative idea comes from. Most of the time, I have no idea “what made me think of that?” However, I would have no creative ideas at all if not for the creativity of others. Books, movies, magazines, and even paintings have inspired me. Even my gardening. In fact, that’s probably the best illustration of how the seed for a novel can come from an unlikely but still creative source.

Several years ago, after sweating and swearing over Hybrid Tea roses, I decided there had to be some roses that weren’t so fussy and that even I could grow. I wanted to get away from all the sprays, too, as I was afraid of what they were doing to the animals, insects, and birds thriving in my garden. So I started researching and found classes of roses that not only didn’t need spraying, but often resented the use of chemicals: Old Garden Roses.

The history of roses and rose hybridization absolutely fascinated me, particularly since I was able to find some of the varieties folks grew in the past, like Shakespeare’s Musk Rose (a specimen of which I’m now growing in my garden to disguise my somewhat inelegant chicken coop behind the house). That research revealed the unexpected information that even in the height of the Napoleonic wars, Josephine got permission to transport roses and invite English nurserymen to France to help her build the rose garden at Malmaison. Then I read the tidbit that they had terrible trouble with thieves coming at night to dig up the roses and sell them.

This led directly to my first historical novel, “Smuggled Rose”, where Margaret smuggles roses from France for her own garden in England. After all, if thieves were stealing the bushes from Malmaison, they had to be selling them somewhere, right? It seemed inevitable that a few would wind up back in England. In “The Necklace”, Oriana grows roses when she’s not trying to keep tabs on her adventurous uncle and his dangerous-appearing friends, and in a novel I’m working on right now, “The Deadliest Rose”, a murderer uses sprays of roses to indicate who his next victim will be.

In “The Bricklayer’s Helper” the heroine, Sam, doesn’t grow roses, but she sure becomes familiar with their uses when her aunt insists on turning Sam into a true lady. For centuries, roses were indispensible in the preparation of both cosmetics, food and even medicine, and Sam uses rose water to clean and soften her skin as many Regency ladies did.

So this one hobby turned into a near-obsession that resulted in at least four novels. And who knows, it may eventually lead to a few more!

Blurb and Excerpt for The Bricklayer’s Helper

What would you do if you were a young girl, orphaned during the early years of the 19th century?
 When Sarah finds herself orphaned after a suspicious fire burns down her home with her family trapped inside, all she remembers is the warning to “run and hide,” and hide she does. She cuts her hair and dons the garb of a young boy, hoping to survive on her own. In this disguise, she’s obtains a job as a bricklayer’s helper and remains safe for thirteen years.

Unfortunately, in London, a man recognizes her and arranges a meeting, only to be murdered before they can speak. Desperate that she may be vulnerable, Sarah hires an inquiry agent from the Second Sons Inquiry Agency.

However, the inquiry agent, William Trenchard, is far too attractive for Sarah’s peace of mind. In her experience, handsome men can rarely do more than fumble their way beneath a lady’s skirt, but she fears he may be her last chance.
 Unfortunately, her decision may prove to be dangerous to both their hearts…if not downright fatal.
Buy Link: :

Trailer for The Bricklayer’s Helper:

In this scene, Sarah has pushed William a little too far and she’s about to get everything she deserves…and then some.

“Get back into bed, or I’ll put you there.”

Her eyes turned silver as she studied him, her head cocked to one side. “If you think you can, I recommend you try.”

"I don’t foresee any difficulties,” he said, striding toward her. After all the stabbing and head-bashing, he thought she’d have enough sense to stay abed.

Obviously, he was wrong.

He deliberately came to a stop mere inches from her, hoping to discomfort her at least half as much as she had discomforted him since their first meeting.

She stared at him, her chin thrust out at a mutinous angle. Although she blinked a few times, she didn’t back away.

He glowered.

Her eyes blinked more rapidly.

So he did the only thing he could think of that would put the fear of God into her soul.

He leaned nearer and kissed her.

Thank you for having me here, Lilly. I certainly appreciate it!

Amy Corwin

Amy also has an awesome paranormal romance that's now available from TWRP

Vampire Protector

A frightened woman must unlock her memories if she's to survive the deadly company of her Vampire Protector…

An anonymous note forces Gwen on a mission to discover an ancient family secret that may be hidden in her long abandoned childhood home. When she asks her attractive neighbor, John, to accompany her, she’s not expecting much, except possibly help if she falls through any rotten floors.
Unfortunately, that's just her first mistake.
John is a vampire, and her house is not exactly empty. Secrets—and the dead—won’t always stay buried, and John’s extraordinary strength and determination may be all that can withstand what awaits them in the shadows...

Amy Corwin is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America and has been writing for the last ten years and managing a career as an enterprise systems administrator in the computer industry. She writes Regencies/historicals, mysteries, and contemporary paranormals. To be truthful, most of her books include a bit of murder and mayhem since she discovered that killing off at least one character is a highly effective way to make the remaining ones toe the plot line.

Amy’s books include the Regency, SMUGGLED ROSE; three Regency romantic mysteries, I BID ONE AMERICAN, THE BRICKLAYER’S HELPER, and THE NECKLACE, and her first paranormal, VAMPIRE PROTECTOR.



  1. Wow, Amy! What wonderful research. It's funny how one thing can lead to another and the next thing you know (or at least it's this way for me) I, I mean, you have notebooks upon notebooks of ideas! And how wonderful you ended up at the Wild *Rose* Press!

  2. Amy, Amy Corwin is my go-to person for rose and regency info. She knows her stuff!

  3. What an interesting post! I have always loved Roses and have tried to grow them. Sometimes I've succeeded but mostly not. Strange how different things will spark a story we must write.

  4. Hi Amy, you and I have something in common. Whenever I go out to my garden, ideas seem to spring to life. I usually have to dust off my knees, pull of my gardening gloves and sprint for the house, so I can jot down all the ideas in my head. There must be something about that quiet time in nature that inspires the muse. Great post!

  5. I love roses, too, especially pink ones. Can't wait to read your books, Amy. Continued success with your career.

  6. Amy and Lilly,
    I also love roses!
    Amy, your post reminds me of this poem.

    The Lord in all his wisdom,
    When he came down one day
    To fill the earth with beauty
    With Flowers from his bouquet,
    Left one rose unplanted,
    Reserved for just my day
    And now this rose is blooming
    As I grow old and gray.
    So touch my pen with beauty
    That I might paint this rose,
    With words that she will cherish
    Each day this flower grows,
    And Lord, when you have finished
    With this rose now on display,
    Lord, I pray you'll place her
    Again in your bouquet.

    HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY to everyone!

  7. Zequeatte, AJ, Caroline, and Becky- thanks for stopping by. And Becky, thanks for sharing the poem. It's beautiful.

  8. It's great to find so many others who also share a love of roses and gardenings, and that poem was terrific--I adored it!

    You can find creative inspiration in so many different places. Sometimes, just walking the dogs and looking up at the storm clouds gathering in the sky is enough.

    Even the simple things can lead you down unexpected paths...

    Thanks Lilly for having me here, and thanks to all of you for leaving your wonderful comments!

  9. I've taken ideas from a lot of places but never a garden! Thanks for sharing your unique inspiration!

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