"I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
Guest Post with John Daly
A question commonly asked of authors is who or what inspires them. It’s a perfectly prudent question. After all, it takes a lot of motivation to write books. That motivation has to be driven by something, right?
Yet, I've always had a problem defining where exactly my inspiration to write comes from. I don’t have a heartwarming story about an exceptional English teacher who took me under his or her wing, or a family member who encouraged me to write stories when I was little. The truth is that I developed a fascination with writing all on my own, and well into my adult years. It’s simply something I enjoy doing because it allows me to express myself in a fulfilling way. It gives me an opportunity to create a world for others to be drawn into and interpret in their own way. That alone is gratifying to me.
As a person and not specifically as a writer, there are certainly many people who have left a lasting impression in my heart and mind – people who have motivated me to put forth my best effort in life.
I’ll tell a story I've actually never shared with anyone before…
When I was in the third or fourth grade, I used to walk several blocks to get home from school each day. One day, a large, loud garbage truck pulled up beside me on a street corner. Riding on the back of it was a worker who was wearing a dark ski cap and large, yellow earphones. He was really jamming out to whatever music was blaring through them, bobbing his head up and down and pressing his upper teeth to his lower lip. He was a black man, which I saw very few of back then in the Colorado suburb where I grew up. He was so animated and immersed in his music that I couldn't help but form a smile at the sight of him.
He noticed my smile, and he cracked one of his own in return. He quickly jumped down from the truck, grabbed a couple of overflowing trashcans from the edge of a driveway, and emptied them into the compactor. Once he was back up on the truck, he turned to me, and for a moment removed his earphones.
“Stay in school!” he told me. “Stay in school so you won’t have to do this when you grow up!”
His earphones then went back on his head, he grooved back into his music, and the truck carried him off down a side-street. I never saw him again.
It’s a memory that has stuck with me for over three decades. I think it left such a lasting impression because of how thoughtful and personal his advice was. He had no reason to offer it to me, but in doing so, it carried more weight than it ever could have, had it come from my parents or a teacher. It was the kind of guidance spawned from self-examination and honesty, and the type that truly motivates people to do their very best, not just in school but in everything.
It may sound odd, but it’s those kinds of people - the nameless but memorable ones that have carved out an image in my heart with their selflessness – that I've probably derived the most inspiration from.
And now as I’m writing this, I suppose I could really cite that revolving door of intriguing strangers as having a specific influence on my writing, after all.
The fiction stories I've worked on as a writer are very character-driven. I've always been of the belief that interesting, compelling characters are as important – if not more important – than the story itself.
Some of the most fascinating characters I've created were inspired by actual people of whom I've never officially met, but observed from a distance.
In my novel, “From a Dead Sleep”, several physical features and habitual traits of both the protagonist and antagonist were derived from people I watched in the waiting room of a local blood plasma bank I used to frequent during stressful economic times.
I’d find myself imagining those people’s backstories based on my observations of their behavior and their interactions with others. I would then funnel those personas into the development of different characters.
When you’re sitting among people in a plasma blank, no one’s trying to be anything they’re not. People are typically there because they've fallen on hard times and are trying to earn a little extra money. They’re unguarded. They’re raw. They’re real.
Few residents in the small, secluded mountain town of Winston, Colorado, have kind words to say about Sean Coleman. He's a bully, a drunk, and a crime show addicted, armchair detective with an overactive imagination. After a night of poor judgment, Sean finds himself the sole witness to the unusual suicide of a mysterious stranger. With the body whisked away in the chilling rapids of a raging river, no one believes Sean's account. Tormented over the doubts and mockery of the people of Winston, Sean embarks on a far reaching crusade that takes him across the country in search of the dead man's identity and personal vindication. At the end, he hopes to find redemption and the truth--but sometimes the truth is better left unknown. There are times when the truth invites evil. There are times when the truth can get you killed.
Buy link: Amazon
From a Dead Sleep Web Friendly Tour Schedule
So Many Precious books June 21 Spotlight & Giveaway
Recent Reads June 24 Review & Giveaway
Romance & Inspirations June 25 Guest Post
Books, Books & More Books June 26 Review & Giveaway
Ordinary Girlz June 27 Review
My Cozy Corner June 28 Review & Giveaway
Housewife Blues & Chihuahua July 1 Interview
Celtic Lady Reviews July 2 Review
Book Lover's Library July 3 Review
Book Lover's Library July 5 Guest Post & Giveaway
Saving for 6 July 8
Buried Under Books July 9 Interview
Succotash Reviews July 10 Review & Giveaway
Laurie's Non-Para.Thoughts & Reviews July 11 Interview
A Book & a Lattee July 11 Review & Giveaway
Literary Etc. July 16 Review