I just love when authors come back and visit. To me, this means that they have been very busy writing books that we enjoy reading and that they truly like the followers of CMash Reads. I ask that you help me give a warm welcome back to Allan Leverone.
Allan Leverone is the author of the Amazon bestselling thriller, THE LONELY MILE, as well as the thriller, FINAL VECTOR and the horror novellas, DARKNESS FALLS and HEARTLESS. He is a four-time Derringer Award finalist for excellence in short mystery fiction and a 2011 Pushcart Prize nominee. Allan lives in Londonderry, NH, with his wife of nearly thirty years, three children and one beautiful granddaughter.
Learn more about Allan on Facebook, Twitter or at www.allanleverone.com.
Guest Post: Inspiration for Novels
By Allan Leverone
If a writer is paying attention, a plot idea can come from almost anywhere. It’s not an exaggeration to say I’ve written stories, novellas or novels based on: a line from a song, an item I saw on the news or on a television news magazine, a dream, a suggestion from my wife, an experience I had as a child, an incident I made up out of whole cloth in my mind, and any of dozens of other sources.
The one thing all of the above examples have in common, though, is that each idea was followed up with one simple question: “What if?” In most cases, the “what if” was then followed up with, “Well, if that happens, then what?” “And if that happens, then what?”
My most successful book to this point is an Amazon bestselling thriller titled THE LONELY MILE, which spent three days in the Top 25 in the paid store at Amazon back in February, peaking at #21 and selling over twelve thousand copies. It was based on a simple premise, one which can’t help but strike a chord with every parent: a man’s daughter is kidnapped by a remorseless sociopath, and he is forced into a desperate attempt to rescue her, racing against time to get her back before it is too late.
Is he successful? You’ll have to read the book if you want to find out, but this post is about inspiration, and the point is this: the idea for THE LONELY MILE came to me three decades before the book was written, when I was in college, driving nearly a thousand miles one-way several times a year between my home in central Massachusetts and my school, the University of Notre Dame, located in South Bend, Indiana.
The trip was a relatively straight shot. I would drive to Interstate 90, roughly twenty miles from my home, and then stay on that highway until I arrived in northern Michigan, where my exit would put me almost right on top Notre Dame’s golden dome. To save time, I would drive straight through, nineteen hours in one shot. It was a questionable tactic, one I would never allow my own kids to try, and one which almost cost me my life any number of times. It’s not something I would recommend to anyone.
But dotting the highway on those 950-mile sojourns from New England to Indiana and back were small Interstate rest stops, little plazas where weary drivers could pull in, gas up, get some fast food and coffee, and continue on toward their destination. Everyone’s seen them; you’ve probably used them dozens of times without thinking anything of it, right?
Well, try pulling into an isolated highway rest stop at three o’clock in the morning, tired and strung out. The places are never totally empty, but they are spooky and creepy, often populated in the middle of the night with questionable-looking characters, and I remember thinking—many times—how easy would it be for some psycho to pull in here, wreak havoc, and then take off? He would be miles away before anyone could even respond.
That was in the days before cell phones were anything more than a twinkle in some engineer’s eye, but even in this era of instant electronic communication, a highway rest stop located within a couple of miles of one or more exits still presents what seems like a pretty attractive staging point for an evil person intent on doing evil things, don’t you think?
Anyway, that one image, of an amoral sociopath using an isolated highway rest stop as an area to commit horrible atrocities, remained embedded in my mind for thirty years. When I began writing fiction, the idea crystallized into the modus operandi for the antagonist in THE LONELY MILE, a serial kidnapper/murderer named Martin Krall.
The important thing for the writer is not so much the inspiration, but the followup to the idea. Inspiration is everywhere. What makes or breaks the writer of genre fiction is the ability to take that inspiration to the next level, and develop a gripping, exciting storyline. I’d like to think I’m pretty good at that. I invite you to check out one of my books and see if you agree.
ABOUT THE BOOK
When Mike McMahon moves to the remote village of Paskagankee, Maine, to take over as chief of police following a tragic shooting, he’s hoping for nothing more than to get a new start on life. Instead, he encounters a series of brutal murders, beginning almost immediately upon his arrival.
Together with a beautiful rookie cop and a disgraced college professor, McMahon races against time and a mounting body count in a desperate attempt to stop a seemingly unstoppable killer…
Publisher: Rock Bottom Books; First Edition
Publication Date: June 29, 2012
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