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Guest Post by Author Jennifer Fromke

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I’m excited to be here on the Live To Read blog! Today I want to talk about inspiration. My debut novel, A Familiar Shore, was inspired by a photograph.
A friend of mine captured the image, which showed just the prow of a yacht, bow-lines swooping down to the dock and a stunning sunset behind it all, reflecting on smooth water. I thought about whose boat it might be. The sunset made me think of a man in the sunset of his life. The bow-lines, which form a diagonal across the sunset, seemed to suggest a cage to me. So I came up with an eighty year old character who reflected on his life and felt trapped by the decisions he’d made.
I love this older gentleman. He lives on his boat and travels up and down the eastern seaboard, docking in different harbors. Why would he stay on the move? I figured he was running from something.
So if he was at the end of his life and pondering his regrets, my story needed to be about how he was going to set things right.
As I let this character marinate, I ran across the story of Joseph from the Bible. I’d studied it many times before, but when I reached the point in the story where Joseph stands before his brothers bowing to him, I wondered what it might look like in contemporary times. I love this moment in the story, it’s pregnant with possibility.
So I created a female character and started dreaming up scenarios for a contemporary character to be faced with the decision to exact revenge on a family who wronged her or else choose to forgo justice for possible relationship.
I put the two characters together and I came up with this scenario:
Meg Marks is a young lawyer raised off the coast of the Carolinas. An anonymous client hires her to arrange his will, and sends her to meet his estranged family at their lake home in northern Michigan. After a shocking discovery, she finds herself caught between his suspicious family and a deathbed promise her conscience demands that she keep. Will she sacrifice her own dreams for revenge, or will she choose something more?
My story doesn’t really tell the same story as Joseph. In fact, only those who read this post will even know it was part of my process. That’s the beauty of inspiration, though. Anything can spark an idea. It’s what you do with that idea and where you take it that makes every story unique.

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  1. Marianne said...:

    Just a question,,,why isn't the photo that inspired the book the cover?

  1. I love how part of her inspiration came from the Bible. I think there are so many amazing stories in the Bible that authors could pull from and make incredible, heartfelt and inspirational stories. The story sounds great. Definitely something different, which is hard to find nowadays. Thanks for this great guest post!

  1. Lili said...:

    I think it's interesting that part of her inspiration came from the Bible. So rare is it to tackle religion in novels these days because it's so controversial, yet she drew inspiration from it! Cool.