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Where Did You Get that Idea? (And a book giveaway)
Monday, October 4th, 2010

I thought I’d blog today on that eternal question that a writer gets, “Where do you get your ideas?” There isn’t one source, of course, our brains are constantly absorbing stimuli from news media, people we know, work, friend’s stories, overheard conversations. The latter is a big one for me, living in the city. No, I don’t eavesdrop, but you hear stuff, whether it be walking in the Loop, standing on the L platform or riding the elevator.

Since Explosive comes out on December 7 from Berkley, I’ll use that as an example. I’ve worked in E.R.’s and traumatic brain injury units, and I know that people do suffer localized amnesias much more frequently than thought. We’re not talking soap opera style I’ve-forgotten-my-whole-identity-and-now-have-fallen-in-love-with-my-ex-nanny type thing. Amnesias do occur within the context of dissociative disorders, and people do wander away and start new lives, sometimes never recalling their old lives. This type of fugue state is rare, though, very rare. Much more common is, for instance, for someone to be in a car crash and not recall the crash itself and a period of time afterward, sometimes because of a head injury and sometimes for psychological reasons. Our brains can only take so much, after all, and sometimes in the case of trauma, it might take our memories a few hours, a couple days, or a week to return.

So, as you’ve probably guessed by now, I wanted to do something with a localized amnesia. My hero in Explosive has undergone something traumatic—both a physical injury and psychological trauma—and he forgets a very small—but a very crucial—period of time. That eighteen hour period of forgetfulness became the central focus of my book. I think the reason that amnesia plots have been popular among writers in TV, film and books is that—well, let’s face it. It’s an awesome device. Memory is the ephemeral stuff that knits our world together. When we lose memory, we lose time, we lose events…essentially, we lose a part of ourselves.

The other thing that I wanted to try in a romance was to do a vulnerable alpha hero. The two concepts don’t go together, you might think? Well it does, really, given the right circumstances. For instance, romance readers are used to a vulnerable alpha in one familiar scenario—the alpha with PTSD—post traumatic stress syndrome. We often associate with PTSD with war and battle, which is the way it’s often used in romance novels. However, PTSD can occur with any kind of trauma.

Thomas, my hero in Explosive, is an ex-Navy explosive specialist. The people who dismantle bombs must have extraordinary psychological reserves to deal with stress—I mean…think about it. So here I had this uber-alpha who has looked death in the face hundreds of times, but it’s not that kind of trauma that impacts him. It’s something much more horrific, perhaps…something much more personal. I liked that contrast a lot. It’s in this charged, amorphous state of uncertainty that he turns to the heroine. The attraction is explosive, in part because this man is carrying around so much psychological energy that he can’t put a name to. Sex is a good outlet for that. We probably all know that during times of grief and intense stress, the sex drive becomes imperative. Thomas’ sexual attraction to Sophie is real–this is the woman he always wanted, but never had the nerve to approach–but in the story, his intense sexuality is sort of jet-fueled by his buried memory.

So there you have it…the miniature version of how came up with the idea for Explosive.

The video is done, by the way, and it’s terrific! I’ll be excited to show it, probably at the beginning of November. I’ll do a big contest for the video release, and an even bigger one leading up to the release of Explosive.

For today, leave a comment on this post, and I’ll put you in the draw for a giveaway of your choice of one of my Berkley print books OR a download of Velvet Cataclysm this Friday. Have you ever had a localized amneisa? Ever forgot a chunk of time, or know someone who did? What were the circumstances? If not, leave a relevant comment, and you’ll certainly be in the draw!

Have a great week!

24 comments to “Where Did You Get that Idea? (And a book giveaway)”

      · October 4th, 2010 at 9:07 am · Link

    A beautiful girl I met on a Journalism Job Fair in 1991, who claimed that we had sex. The only thing I remembered the night before was I had gotten “smashed,” and the girl in my bed! 🙄

  2. Beth Kery
      · October 4th, 2010 at 9:14 am · Link

    LOL, KT. Yep, I forgot to mention that heavy drinking will cause a whopping amnesia. Thanks for dropping by!

  3. Amelia
      · October 4th, 2010 at 9:15 am · Link

    Much more common is, for instance, for someone to be in a car crash and not recall the crash itself and a period of time afterward…

    I used to have a car that would hydroplane easily. I was driving too fast in the steadily falling rain because I was late for class. I hit a puddle of water and the car started to spin. I don’t remember anything else until the car came to a stop against the metal post of the interstate highway sign. My seat was knocked loose from the impact and my head was almost resting on the back seat. The police officer who investigated said the seatbelt saved my life since I would have hit the post headfirst. I don’t remember the seat coming loose or the actual crash itself.

  4. Jeannie
      · October 4th, 2010 at 9:28 am · Link

    Hi Beth!

    I can’t wait to read Explosive. The premise sounds promising.

    I have a perfect example of localized amnesia…childbirth!! Well, maybe in reverse. Once you hold that newborn bundle you forget all the pain you went through to bring it into the world. HA! That is until they reach their teens!

  5. Jeanette Juan
      · October 4th, 2010 at 9:59 am · Link

    Questions not relevant to me but I agree with you on how people get ideas. They can come from any random place and occur at a moments notice, like if you’re just listening to music or walking your dog. Inspiration is everywhere!

  6. CrystalGB
      · October 4th, 2010 at 10:11 am · Link

    I have never had localized amnesia. But, I have had relatives who have been in the hospital who have. Explosive sounds great.

  7. Terra Pennington
      · October 4th, 2010 at 10:23 am · Link

    I can not wait to see the video or read the book Explosive. I am already hooked by the excerpt and have added this book on my wish list.

  8. Knicole
      · October 4th, 2010 at 10:44 am · Link

    I haven’t had localized amnesia and sometimes I feel like I remember tooo much. But like the first post I have lost chunks of time while drinking :blush: Including one time when I wondered away from my friends and have no idea what I did until I met up with them a few hours later.

  9. Valerie
      · October 4th, 2010 at 12:10 pm · Link

    Never had a localized amnesia or know anyone who had.

    I did find your post fascinating to read how the idea came about. Fabulous!! Thanks for sharing.

    in Germany

  10. Yadira A.
      · October 4th, 2010 at 1:39 pm · Link

    Explosive sounds great and is now on my wishlist!

    What I hate is driving home after a stressful day at work and not remembering how I got there. The trip is non-existent in my mind because my mind was somewhere else. I hate it because it freaks me out that I wasn’t focused on the all too important driving aspect of the trip. I swear the EDJ really gets to me sometimes :angry:


  11. Anne
      · October 4th, 2010 at 1:42 pm · Link

    I never lost my memory, but my dad lost about 2 weeks (a week before the accident and about a week after he “came to”) after being in a coma for a week after a severe car crash. My brother has a seizure disorder and loses his memory of what happened before and after for several hours to a day. My other brother and I visited him in the hospital and played cards with him and gave him a frosty. He seemed totally present and “with it”, but didn’t remember the visit when we saw him a couple of days later.

  12. Jackie W
      · October 4th, 2010 at 2:19 pm · Link

    As I get older I’m forgetting lots of things but not a whole chunk of time. I’ve never known anyone with amnesia-feigned or otherwise. Enjoyed your blog today.

  13. Chelsea B.
      · October 4th, 2010 at 3:07 pm · Link

    Nope. No amneisa for me or anyone else I know, thank goodness!
    I’m looking forward to reading Explosive this December!

  14. zina
      · October 4th, 2010 at 3:08 pm · Link

    Sometimes it can be caused by an event too I believe. My grandmother passed away just before Christmas when I was about 15, I don’t remember Christmas that year at all. I’m sure we had Christmas but I don’t remember it, nothing at all.
    I love the bookplate you sent and the Explosive bookmark.

  15. Rory G
      · October 4th, 2010 at 3:23 pm · Link

    My husband developed a brain infection that resulted in his being hospitalized. He lost about two weeks worth of memories that have never returned. The brain is a beautiful but scary thing.

  16. Estella
      · October 4th, 2010 at 3:38 pm · Link

    Have never had any dealings with localized amnesia.
    That concept for Explosive is very interesting.

  17. elaing8
      · October 4th, 2010 at 4:11 pm · Link

    Does just having a terrible memory count.lol.I’m always forgetting stuff.oh and drunken stupors 🙂
    Other than that no localized amneisa.

  18. Tracy
      · October 4th, 2010 at 9:40 pm · Link

    My husband had localized amnesia. He was driving home from his high school prom-after dropping off his date thank goodness. He crashed and totaled his car-luckily he was ok aside from some minor injuries but still doesn’t remember to this day the accident or what caused it. By the way he was not drinking at all-they tested him for that so we’ll probably never know.

  19. Lisa F.
      · October 4th, 2010 at 10:24 pm · Link

    I lost a day. When I was 13, I woke up on my sofa with the paramedics and my grandmother standing over me . I had no clue what happen. They told me that a lady found me laying on the ground in a alley with my bike. The lady said she checked if I was alright and I said yes and got up and walked home while she waled my bike to my house. She said I was confused on why I was on the ground. I then walked into my house and laid on the sofa and went to sleep. My grandmother then called the ambulance. I have no memory of any of this. Still don’t know til this day if I was hit by a car or I just fell off my bike. I don’t even remember getting up that day or even going bike riding.

    Can’t wait for Explosive!

  20. Beth Kery
      · October 5th, 2010 at 7:43 am · Link

    Great responses. I forgot to say that I had my own period of missing time after falling off a horse when I was a kid. Never regained the memory.

    Jeannie–lol. Right, I’d call that selective amnesia.

    Yadira–yeah, we can really go into auto pilot when driving. I hear you about that.

    Lisa F–omg, how scary. It’s interesting, isn’t it? how we can talk and carry on, and then later not remember. Same thing happens under light amnesia, you swear you’ll remember, but you can’t later on.

    Zina–right. Emotional experiences def will cause problems with memory. I know in cases of trauma, when head injury wasn’t obvious, it’s always very hard to pinpoint if the memory loss is psychological or physical in nature, which is what happened to Thomas in Explosive.

    Thanks for all the great comments!

  21. Melanie S.
      · October 5th, 2010 at 8:57 am · Link

    I haven’t had localized amneisa, but it sounds so scary to not remember what you did…

    thanks for another great post Beth 🙂 I’m looking forward to Explosive!

  22. susan leech
      · October 5th, 2010 at 4:42 pm · Link

    I would love to read this book. In 1984 I suffered a stroke and was in a coma for four and a half days. I woke up and to this day I do not recall what happened..just what I was told by those around me. I had to learn to talk all over again and at 38 years old this was not easy task but I did it. I have lost many memories of my childhood and even of times when I was raising our four children and trips we were on as a family. The brain/mind can really do strange things in life. I am glad to be okay now. susan L garysue@dejazzd.com

  23. Amanda
      · October 5th, 2010 at 9:31 pm · Link

    I’ve had a case of amnesia this last week, forgot my brothers bday and parents anniversary! totally lost track of time

  24. becky4444
      · October 7th, 2010 at 7:29 am · Link

    Sounds like a great book! I have never had amnesia, but I assume it would be scary!

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