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.
At 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.
And 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).
It 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.
By 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.’
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.