By Martha Reed
My nephew is home visiting from school, and after we caught up on his adventures he asked me what I was working on lately. That is the great thing about raising kids up once you’ve already decided to become a writer; they take it for granted that’s what you are. My sisters, who knew me before I became a writer still look at it slightly askance like I might suddenly drop it and take up some other time-killer like golf.
At first, Reed asked about my novel. I explained that my day job had gotten so stressful at year-end that I simply didn’t have the energy to work on anything long or involved. That’s why I started noodling around with a short story format because 5,000 words is manageable. You can pick it up and put it down. And that’s when he asked me the big question: Where do you get your ideas?
Hummm. That’s kind of a tough one because every answer is different. My first short story came from something I overheard at a restaurant: Table for One? Another story came from a question I wondered about halfway through a home renovation: What if your house didn’t like you? A third came from a photo I saw of a Sumerian lion figurine that was so obviously non-Western culture that I immediately started to imagine living a prehistoric life. This latest story is a gift from my grandfather, a man Reed never met. Pop was an intelligence officer in the Pacific during WWII. He never shared his experiences. So, of course, being a good mystery enthusiast, I researched the subject myself and learned that what happened at Bataan and Corregidor was so horrific and courageous and human the new story popped right out of it.
Which leads me to my question: what are you working on, and where did you get the idea?