Lois Greiman Talks About Inspiration


It’s funny what we find inspiring. We’re all so different. And I have to admit, my inspiration has been at kind of a low ebb lately. In November I finished a faery anthology for St. Martins, then polished off my fifth mystery for Random House at the end of December and followed it up by turning in 75 pages of a non-genre novel to my agent. So by the end of January, I gotta tell you, I was feeling a little lackluster and a whole lot stressed.

costa_rica_trip.jpgAt the same time, my oldest son Travis was gearing up for an ‘eco-adventure’ in Costa Rica. Two days before his departure, however, his intended companions informed him they were unable to accompany him. Disappointed, he asked me to go along.

Now let me tell you, I’m not a particularly spontaneous person, but I was between books. I was sick of winter and I was ready for a change. His budget for a twelve day trip was $500. That meant questionable lodging, iffy transportation, and a minimum of food. But…well…did I mention it was 45 degrees below zero here in Minnesota? To make a long story short. I ended up going with him.

costa_rica.jpgAnd it was fantastic. It was also the most grueling 12 days of my life. On our second day there we climbed Mt. Chirripo, the highest peak in the country. (From 3800 meters you can see the Atlantic and the Pacific at the same time.) On day four we hiked approximately twenty miles through some of the most beautiful cloud forests in the world. On day six we realized the tiny car we had rented could not traverse the alligator infested rivers (which we had waded through barefoot) that crossed the road to Carate, so we opted for public transportation (the back of a Jeep-like vehicle that sat 8 but actually transported 14).

lois_greiman_and_son.jpgIt was incredibly interesting rubbing shoulders with the locals: kids dressed in their well-pressed uniforms, perfectly groomed for their first day of school. Laborers, running us down to hang on to the back of the trunk. It was just as interesting setting our tents up on the beach and sleeping fifteen yards from the surf.

The entire adventure was amazing. I was tired all the time. (We hiked 5-14 hours a day.) I was filthy. (We hardly ever slept under an actual roof, and showers were scarce.) I was hungry. (Basically we ate what we carried on our backs or could find in the forest.) And I was ecstatic.

unmanned_lois_greiman.jpgBy the time I got home I was five pounds lighter, two shades darker, and so relaxed I was practically catatonic. But the story ideas I returned with are awesome. I saw so many amazing things, met so many interesting people that I don’t think I’ll ever run out of material. Which is a good thing because I have a book due in three months, another due five months later and a couple of smaller projects to work into the cracks. Oh, and I’m doing a book tour in April to promote Under Your Spell, my first Witches of Mayfair book, and Unnerved, my fifth Christina McMullen mystery . The tour will include the Romantic Times convention in Pittsburgh and Malice Domestic in Arlington. So if you’re in the area please drop in and say ‘hi.’taming_the_barbarian_lois_greiman.jpg

It looks like I’m going to need some inspiration again soon. So…tell me, what inspires you? Chime in please. I’ll be giving away a copy of Taming the Barbarian (the first book of the Men of the Mist series) to a randomly drawn commenter.

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34 thoughts on “Lois Greiman Talks About Inspiration”

  1. Hi Lois!
    What an amazing trip you had. I’ve found that there are so many inspiring things around that all you have to do is stop and look. For me, it can be a warm day after days of cold or having the whole family together for a celebration.

  2. Hey Maureen, you’re right, family is everything. That’s one of the reasons I went on this trip. Kids grow up so fast and I felt this might be the last chance I had to do something with my eldest. And as great as family gatherings are, one on ones are even better as far as I’m concerned.

    You’re so wise to be able to step back and appreciate the simple things in life.

  3. Just wanted to take a moment to thank all the petticoaters for inviting me to blog with you today. Especially since I haven’t written a ‘petticoat book’ for years. Recently I’ve been writing about crazy psychologists who happen to find dead bodies in their offices and big hunky guys in the Regency era. But I still miss the westerns. Sigh.Thanks for keeping them alive and real for us all. You guys are great.

  4. Lois, Wow, you inspire! What a trip. Thank you for a great blog and stopping by. I do not get to go for and I do not get to go for long from home, so I have to do like Maureen and find all the things that inspire me around myself that are close. I have 3 amazing kids, and they inspire me daily. My Mom has dementia and other health problems, but still is the most positive and amazing woman that I know and that inspires me. I live in Nebraska and sometimes that can inspire me. And you know I myself have been known to inspire on occasion…*G* Again, that you for a great blog. Enjoy the week-end!!!
    Amy L.

  5. what a wondrous trip you were able to share with your son. And thanks so much for sharing with us. I have a number of friends who are travelers and even though I can’t do the actual traveling myself at this time, second-hand inspiration can be just as amazing and astounding! Sometimes it will really catch you by surprise!

    ooh, and being able to see both oceans from the same place–how utterly cool is that>!

  6. Amy, YOU’VE inspired me. I love to hear about people who appreciate their families…especially their mothers. 🙂 Probably because I am one. My mom is 89 and one of the most amazing people I know. Tough as shoe leather…still living on the farm in ND. Still taking care of herself. She’s buried a son and a husband, but is still carrying on. I’d like to be like her when I grow up but I’m afraid I’m too whiney.

  7. Lois, that sounds like the adventure of a lifetime. I’m so proud of you for going. I don’t think I’d have lasted through the first hike, unfortunately and that’s a shame.

    With my luck, a spur of the moment eco tour would end up sharing an ice floe with a polar bear in Antarctica.

    What inspires me? Such strange things will happen and hit you as story ideas. The newspaper, but also just chance comments that a writer’s brain will start sifting and ‘what if-ing’ into a murder mystery or love story, or both.

  8. Thank you for blogging here… I am always fascinated to hear how authors get their inspirations and how they have the ability to write different genres.

    I get my inspiration by observing people all around…

  9. Oh, speaking of story ideas…I met a guy called Crocodile Mike…I kid you not…while at a ranger station 10 kilometers from any road in Costa Rica. He was a chain smoking, lean as a whip Irishman who gave jungle tours. I just sat, mouth open and listened to his brogue.

    This guy was a novel on the hoof. If I weren’t in the middle of my next government witch book–yep, I said government witch book–I’d be writing his story right now. 🙂

  10. Mary, it always surprises me when people ask where I get my ideas for stories, because like you said, inspiration is all around us. Keeping the ideas at bay is more of a problem than finding them

  11. My mom got an accidental phone call from my sister the other day, just misdialed, you know, and this whole story bloomed full in my mind.
    What if.
    I’ve also gotten the ‘where do you get your ideas’ question enough that I’ve sort of ‘written’ an answer or two, you know, just planned ahead so I can do something other than shrug and say, “Duh…I dunno.” 🙂

  12. Hi Lois! Welcome to Petticoats and Pistols. I hope you’re enjoying yourself because we’re enjoying having you.

    Your trip to Costa Rica sounded simply amazing. I can’t imagine being able to be high enough to see both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at the same time. Wow!

    Sleeping in a tent yards away from the ocean would really inspire me. I absolutely love the sound of the waves. It’s like I’ve come home. And that’s strange because I grew up in New Mexico where the only water I heard came from the faucet. But, I do love the sound of the ocean.

    Another thing that inspires me is music. Music can make me want to get up and dance and it can lull me into a place where my mind wanders down a creative path. Music is food to my soul. It makes me appreciate who I am and what I have.

    Being with family inspires me. I can soak up the warmth and laughter until my heart runs over. Then, I want to put that feeling into words in my stories.

    I’m wondering if you’ll return to writing westerns some day? I hope so.

    Thanks for being with us. Have a great day.

  13. Hi Lois,
    Thanks for blogging with us today!! What a great inspirational story. I’m amazed you went on that trip on such short notice, but I’m a warm weather lover, so the thought of tropical heat versus frigid weather, would be my catalyst as well. Still, how brave of you and I can only imagine how freeing it was to be away from civilization per se, the creative juices must have really taken flight. Makes me want to do something equally, off the charts… but hmmm, the most adventurous I’ve been lately was to drive to the beach by myself and sit in the sand for inspiration. Truly an inspirational story. Sometime, you’ll have to come back and tell us about your beautiful horse. I bet you have some great stories for us!

  14. Books. That’s where I often get my inspiration whether it has to do with a new recipe -or a new twist to an old recipe, knitting or translating.

  15. Thanks for having me, Linda. You guys are great.

    I would like to do westerns again someday. I love writing anything about horses. And oh, yes, I ride a lot…almost every day when the weather is decent. Which, sadly, hasn’t been the case for a long time. But Sage (horse in pic) doesn’t mind waiting out the cold. He’s my favorite. I absolutely love him. I raised him from a baby and had his mom for 28 years. She just died a year ago this month. We did thousands of miles together. Sage is a different type of guy, but he’s brought us so much joy. I trained him, then my daughter showed him for years and that time we spent together…Sage and daughter and I…was irreplacable. Spent some time at the World Pinto Show in Tulsa. It was one of the best weeks of my life. He and Tara placed third in the world that year. But now she’s old and in college so Sage and I are spending more time alone together. Sigh.

    Hummmff. That’s probably more than you needed to know huh? 🙂

  16. I think the best part of your story was that your son wanted YOU to go along with him – how sweet and fantastic is that!! I’m not very spontaneous either but I’ve always found that when I do go along with something on the spur of the moment that it’s always the best of memories!! Inspiration can come from absolutely anwhere – books, tv, friends and relatives, or just your own imagination!

  17. What a wonderful adventure you had with your son.
    My family is my inspiration—-my husband, four children and 4 grandchildren.

  18. Lois, welcome to Petticoats and Pistols! We really appreciate you giving us your weekend.

    Your blog was quite engaging–and like Jeanne said, how neat that your son asked you to go with him! How could any mother refuse?

    I often find I’m inspired as I’m researching–there’s just so much history out there. So many ideas, so little time.

    I’m going to RT next month. We’ll have to find each other and say hello!

  19. Thanks Jeanne. Travis is 24 and we still have a great time together, so it was really nice to be asked…and I learned while in Costa Rica that sometimes it’s nice to have a scruffy 6’3″ Gringo between me and the world. He’s gone to the Romantic Times convention with me before too and competed in the cover model contest. That was just too much fun. You can’t even imagine how much I could torment him after that.

  20. Great trip, I think I could get into that one.

    What inspires me, sometime just visiting friends and family, a good book, and sometime just pieceing a quilt. Oh and don’t forget a nice sunny spring day which I keep waiting for because I am tired of the snow and cold.

  21. Lois, what an incredible trip, and I agree with Jeanne–how perfectly lovely that your son wanted you to accompany you! I hope that someday my own children will want hang out with me 🙂 I agree that being with family is inspiring, knowing that you’re loved and supported. And I also really enjoy having the chance to talk with other people–both friends, and friends I’m getting to know. We can be so different and yet share so many experiences!

  22. Sounds like a magnificent experience, but not for
    me! At 71, I just don’t think I could handle it!
    I agree with Linda, my inspiration also comes from
    my family. Surrounded by love and laughter, they
    fill my heart with all that I need!

    Pat Cochran

  23. Hi Lois!

    What inspires me most is Nature! It is amazing how much beauty you can find in nature! The awe inspiring views, colors, plants and animals are never ending. There is even something amazing in every sunrise and sunset..they are never the same.

  24. Fedora, I was so flattered. Before we got home Travis was talking about where we could go next. So we decided to climb Mt. Whitney in July. My daughter’s planning on coming too. I believe it’s the highest peak in the continental US but I’m not sure. I’m just excited about spending time with my kids.

  25. That sounds like a fun trip. I bet you have memories that will last a long, long, time. I’m not sure I’d be that brave…maybe if I was with family. My inspiration comes from my husband mostly and my mother-in-law, too. My husband is such a positive person and I try to be a good person so I don’t disappoint. My mother-in-law just turned 80 and is still working full time. It’a amazing. She can out shop my any day. lol

  26. Ooh, wow, Lois! That’s awesome! So this trip may be just the first of many family adventures 🙂 And now that your kids are grown, do they do the planning? (In other words, can you just pack for yourself and tag along now ;)) Looking forward to hearing about your conquering the peak after July! 🙂

  27. Kim, what does your mother in law do? I wish my mom had a job. Okay, yeah, she’s 89 🙂 but she’s bored for the first time in her life. She’s worked so hard forever and now she doesn’t know what to do with herself.

  28. Wow! Sounds like an exciting trip. What inspires me is my two little ones. I love seeing the world in their eyes. I learn something new each day.

  29. Wow what a wonderful thing!

    Inspiration comes in so many ways. On Feb 21 hubby and I traveled to Bellevue, WA to visit our children and granson and, like you, I returned so inspired!

    Another thing that inspires me is hearing from readers….just before we left, we took our dog ot the Vet’s office to be boarded. While there I noticed that the office ladies were reading so naturally I brought up my books. One young girl got all wide-eyed and asked what I’d written. When I began rattling off the titles…Tempered Hearts, Tempered Dreams, she rushed around the counter, gave me a big hug and exclaimed “I love those books!”

    Seems that one of her friends had my books and she’d read them.

    What a small world.

    Great post!

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