Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tip O'Day for Writers #124

NYT bestselling author Gayle Lynds says to search for what fascinates you.

For twenty years I carried a Los Angeles Times clipping about Ivan the Terrible’s long-lost library of gold-covered books, so fascinated I couldn’t make myself throw it away. But I write contemporary spy novels. How could I use the idea in one of my books? Finally I realized that if the CIA were tracking terrorist financing and the path led to the library, I had the basis of a good story. The result was The Book of Spies, which has just been nominated for the Nero Award.

When the Cold War ended, many spies around the globe in every national intelligence agency were suddenly out of work. I was fascinated by what would happen to such a highly trained, committed, focused individual if his raison d’etre were suddenly removed. The result was The Last Spymaster, named by Library Journal as one of the Top 5 Thrillers of the Year.

My point is simple: If you’re fascinated, you have a better chance of fascinating your reader. So find what you love, what you care about, what FASCINATES you, then figure out how to use it in your novel. You will feel inspired, and your readers will be grateful.

To learn more about Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Spies, The Last Spymaster, Masquerade, and others, check out the website at www.gaylelynds.com

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