Monday, June 8, 2009

Mother Nature's Helping Hand

The Gulf Coast is my home. Its miles of beaches and line of barrier islands, and countless winding bayous and bays have been an influence on me, and now I find it’s an important influence on my books.

I guess it’s true that we write what we know and love.

In ONCE IN A HALF MOON my hero is a charter boat captain who loves the freedom and beauty of the water. Boats have been part of my life as well, and I was fortunate enough to find a husband who loves being on the water as much as I do. Just last week we spent the night anchored at Ship Island, one of the barrier islands just off the coast. He grilled me a steak and we watched the sun set as we ate. Nothing can compare to the awesome beauty of a sunset on the water – unless it’s watching the sunrise while drinking coffee on the stern of the boat.

In my February 2010 release ON THE CREST OF A WAVE, my heroine finds herself helping a Union officer on this same island. Where we anchored I could see the fort that was taken over by the Union forces in the early part of the Civil War and then used as a Confederate Prisoner of War Camp. It’s hard to walk the island today over a hundred years later and not think about what happened on that barren stretch of sand. How can you not be creative in a setting like that?

I’m always asked where I get the ideas for my novels. It’s hard to say how ideas originate. One day your mind is a blank slate and the next your fingers are flying across the keyboard. I guess if I’m honest with myself, my surroundings play an important role in formulating stories, and I’m lucky enough to live where nature evokes an emotional response and strikes a creative chord.

Think about your surroundings. Do you live in the mountains, the plains, a coastline or in a big city? Sometimes we take for granted what we see every day. Today, take a moment and actually see the beauty and the awe that Mother Nature has provided. You never know if the idea for your next book is waiting to be discovered it there.


Sandy Cody said...

Nice post, Fran, and a lovely photo. Your book sounds delightful. One of the great pleasures of reading is being transported to another place.

Cara Slaughter said...

Love the picture, Fran! I also write what I know and love. It's so important to experience the ambiance of a particular place which is something research alone doesn't always provide.

Debby Mayne said...

Hey, Fran! The Gulf Coast is home to me, too, but we live in Florida! I went to your website to see where you were from, and I saw that you're a Golden Eagle from the University of Southern Mississippi. So am I! I graduated in 1975.

Fran McNabb said...

Ladies, thanks for the comment. I tried to comment earlier, but it wouldn't go through.
Debby, what a day for a USM fan! We're on our way to the College World Series in Omaha! Hubby just came in from Gaineville and the Super Regionals. Go Eagles!

Elisabeth Rose said...

The ocean has an incredible primal sort of pull doesn't it? We live inland but love trips to the coast.
My favourite experience was on a trip to Western Australia in 2007 when we stood on Cape Leeuwin in a tearing wind in front of a sign that said that was the divide between the Indian and Southern Oceans. Fabulous. Plus we come from the east coast of Australia so we'd already been in the Pacific and could wet our hands (too cold for swimming ) in those waters as well.

I've also been to the US West coast so have seen both sides of the Pacific!

Fran McNabb said...

Elisabeth, the coastline of Australia sounds awesome. How lucky you are to have it at your doorstep.

Carol Hutchens said...

Your descriptions are wonderful, Fran. Thanks for the great visual.
Oops! UNC Tarheels are headed to Omaha, too!! LOL