Nicola Marsh ~ What inspires me?

Nicola Marsh

As a writer, the question I’m most commonly asked is ‘where do you get your ideas from?’

My first book?  I was between patients while working full time as a physiotherapist, picked up a glossy mag from the waiting room, flicked through and there was a fabulous article on speed dating.  I’d only just started writing at the time and something about that article set off a little ‘ding’ in my creative brain and off I went.

Another book?  Reading the Sunday newspaper, I came across an article in the travel section on hotel concierges, all male, and thought I’d make my heroine a hotelier filling in as concierge for a week and having to deal with a prince incognito.acland2

Most of my books?  From real life experiences around my beautiful home city of Melbourne.  There’s nothing like first hand research anlygon2sd considering how much I love my food it comes as no surprise I’ve set many books around the ‘foodie’ areas of this restaurant-rich city. Brunswick Street (boho central), Acland Street (home to the best cakes and pastry shops on the planet!), Lygon Street (Little Italy), the Docklands (hip new eateries),all intriguing settings in their own right but once you throw in the food…yum!

So what inspired me to write my current releases THREE TIMES A BRIDESMAID…(Harlequin Romance) & OVERTIMTTAB US coverE IN THE BOSS’S BED (Harlequin Presents Extra)? 

THREE TIMES A BRIDESMAID…came about after many trips to the Melbourne Aquarium with my kids over the last two years, and OVERTIME IN THE BOSS’S BED was inspired after lightning struck my house last year!  (That scene in the book where Starr runs tOITBB US covero Callum’s house after lightning strikes the cottage?  Didn’t happen that way for me.  My hero was away at the time!!)

Sometimes characters leap straight into my head, other times it’s the uniqueness of a setting that will tempt me to create a story.

So next time you read a scene in a book, who knows?  It may have happened to the author and inspired them to write an entire book!


If you could ask an author anything, what would it be?

Thanks to the lovely gang at Petticoats and Pistols for having me!  To celebrate my double release this month, I’m giving away a signed copy of my recent Romantic Times finalist for Best Harlequin Romance 2009, A TRIP WITH THE TYCOON.  Leave a comment to be in the running.

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31 thoughts on “Nicola Marsh ~ What inspires me?”

  1. Hi Nicola,

    I enjoyed your post this morning. I haven’t published but I find my characters pop into my head at some of the most inconvenient times. They tend to ‘feed’ me ideas. My problem is more in the settings. I have a great history of places I have lived or been (Japan, Spain, Wake Island, Hawaii, Alaska, California, etc), but I just haven’t found the right home for my characters.

    I know you said that sometimes the uniqueness of a setting helps you in creating your characters, but do your characters ever help you create your setting?

    I would love to read your books.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  2. I enjoyed your interview very much, I’ve read some of your books and always enjoy them. Do you ever feel sad when you finish writing a book because you hate to let go of the characters? I know as a reader I hate to see series books come to an end because I’ve grown attached to them.

  3. Hi, Nicola. I am so amazed that authors can take a blurb of news or a personal experience and develop and write a story! What awesome talent, so, thank you! Everyone has every day experiences, but some of us don’t have the ability to create; kudos to you, Nicola. Your books sound great.

    My question is about character names. Have you ever associated names with real-life persons? I’m a teacher and when deciding upon baby names, some of them were “out” because of former students! LOL.

  4. Hi, Nicola! I very much enjoyed your post! When I have been particularly intrigued by a work of fiction, I wonder how much of it came from the author’s imagination and how much came from real life. I know many writers’ work is quite autobiographical. They find it to be cleansing and cathartic. Others are just wildly creative and have a blast spinning tales. Is there one of your own books in particular which was a more personal story for you?

  5. Congratulations on the release of your books, Nicola. I hope they do well.
    Have you ever hit a time when you are working on a book when the characters and the story just aren’t working the way you want them to? What would you do – set the story aside and forget it, put your characters in a different situation/locale, or keep the story and find new characters?

  6. I don’t want to ask you a question. Whenever I read author blogs about questions, apparently there are some questions you are asked ALL the time (like your inspirations). I don’t want to put you through that. As they say on Dancing with the Stars, “You are safe!” — at least from me.
    I hope you have a great Mother’s Day weekend. Thanks for offering this book here. I look forward to reading Tamara and Ethan’s love story. (BTW, yes indeed, Aishwarya Rai Bachnan is a beautiful inspiration for Tamara.)

  7. Are your characters inspired by anyone or a comboination of someones and would you admit it?

  8. Hi Nicola,

    Welcome to the Junction! We’re so happy to have you blog with us. I love your name. It’s different. It’d make a good name for a heroine. I really enjoy knowing what inspires other authors to write their books. I’ve written about my real life experiences in two of my books. And I think when we do that it makes the story come alive in a deeper way.

  9. Congrats on your new releases!!
    I always wonder if the storyline is from personal experience. So I would probably ask the author where he/she came up with the story.

  10. Enjoyed reading the comments. The book sounds really good and I have added it to my TBR list.
    My question is Do you read aloud the dialogue in your books? In several books I have read the dialogue does not flow or it does not sound like something one would say. How can you be sure the dialogue is effective?

  11. Congrats on your releases! 😀 I love background info on books… it is always interesting to see what gave an author that “light bulb”! As for a question, I always wonder who an author’s fav authors are? Who they enjoy reading… 😀

  12. my question is who is your most supportive person in regards to your writing? Does your family read your books?

    Thanks for joining us today and giving us an insight into your life.

  13. Hi Nicola!
    Thanks for sharing where you ideas come from…it’s always interesting to discover how creative minds work 🙂
    I often wonder how much authors read other books in their genre? If I can add a second part to the question…if you are an avid reader…how do you remember if something was your idea or you read it somewhere. I know I would have to question that a lot as I can’t remember if something really happened or I dreamt it 🙂

  14. I enjoy hearing how authors get the idea for their stories.
    I have read several of your books and enjoyed them.

  15. Great to see so many popping in here while I’ve been sleeping in OZ! And loads of great questions!

    Cindy, sometimes characters certainly do demand their own setting. Those larger than life characters that strut into our imaginations and tell us exactly what they want and where! 🙂

  16. Thanks Linda, so glad you enjoy my books.

    Usually by the end of a book I’ve written I experience one emotion: relief 😉

    Yet as a reader, there are often characters I hate to see end.

  17. Great questions about names, Deb!

    I definitely steer clear naming characters after people I know. Because I’m writing fiction, I like that freedom to create without someone I know and their personality affecting my characters.

  18. Oooh…another great question, Virginia!

    When I write, I’m definitely in the category of spinning tales.
    If I absolutely had to choose which of my books is closest to me, I’d have to say TWO WEEKS IN THE MAGNATE’S BED. Set on a cruise ship in the South Pacific, it tells Lana’s story (Lana is shy, a workaholic nerd.) who falls for a dashing sailor.
    My first love was a dashing sailor on a cruise…say no more!

  19. Great craft question, Patricia.

    When characters aren’t doing what I want, it’s usually because I’ve hit the dreaded ‘sagging middle’ or the conflict isn’t strong enough.

    In both cases, I resort to pen and paper to roughly plot out the rest. Helps re-focus and get the book back on track. I never put aside a book half finished because I thrive on a challenge 🙂

  20. Anon, I think I answered this question a few sentences back…I love the freedom to create purely from imagination so avoid basing my characters on anyone. I think I’d find it too stifling…

  21. Runner, my stories usually start with a snippet from a magazine article, a title of an article, a setting or a spark of an idea I have when I’m waking up or drifting off to sleep (the latter in particular!)
    Either a first line or a paragraph of a story will pop into my head just before I fall asleep and I’ll frantically jot it down in the dark!

  22. Joye, I never read any of my books aloud.
    Though I know it’s a recommended technique, I couldn’t bear to hear the sound of my own voice reading it out loud!

    My books are dialogue heavy and all my editors have said I write realistic, snappy dialogue so thankfully that’s one less thing to worry about when readers pick up my books 🙂

  23. Colleen, my fave authors are Barbara O’Neal, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Harlan Coben and Tess Gerritsen.

    I adore books, and read voraciously 🙂

  24. My hubby’s a plumber and the least likely person to read my books but he has, and he enjoys them.

    My father in law never reads books, but picked up one of mine and is now a firm fan. He reads them all and loves them 🙂

    My mum reads a lot, but isn’t a fan of category romance so she says little, unless she really, really enjoys it. A TRIP WITH THE TYCOON is one of her favourites, she said ‘your writing has come a long way.’
    Uh, gee, thanks mum!

  25. I read widely across many genres, Tabitha, but when I write a book, I strive to come up with a unique plot, something a little out of the ordinary so can safely say the ideas are all my own.

    In category romance, there are several ‘hooks’ (eg. secret baby, marriage of convenience, royalty) but it’s the author’s talent to put their individual spin on each and every story 🙂

  26. If I could ask an author anything — I’d ask to spend 30 minutes or so (i know. . it may not be enough) of his/her (precious) time to just chat and talk about what they love the most, what inspires them and what makes them laugh!

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