As a multi-published author, the second question I’m often asked is “What inspires you?”  Can you guess what the first question I’m asked is? You’ve probably heard this before.  “Where do you get your ideas?” The idea question and the inspiration question are one in the same, for me.   What inspires me, also gives me my ideas.  And when I get an idea for a story, I’m thrilled.   






I have learned to fill my world with inspiration.  One of the greatest inspirations for me is simply reading a good book.  I won’t lie.  My favorite author in the universe is Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  I love her zany, but well-thought out characters, I love her voice, her sense of humor and the way her subplots are often as engaging as the main story.  I look forward to each of her new releases and she’s one author whose books I re-read for inspiration. 

I love country music, a given for an author who writes primarily cowboys and country life.  When I listen to the lyrics in a country tune, I live the love story in my mind.  I’m a fan of Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, Ronnie Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill and so many more.  Their songs not only make me tap my toes and clap my hands, but they move me in other ways as well.  




Another source of inspiration for me is my workspace.  I’d waited for years to have an office to call my own.  I spend the greatest part of my day in there.   Every time I look at the walls, I see my friends, my family and my sweet husband’s love come through. 


One of my few indulgences was a gift I gave myself.  When I had achieved a writing goal I’d been seeking for a long time, I rewarded myself with this piece of metal art that is one of a kind.  As you can see, the horses that stampede over my computer every day, tell me to sit down and write.  They are the true focal point in the room.


The Wall of Frames, as my husband jokingly calls it, is an ongoing gift from him. Every time I get a new cover, he frames it and positions it on the wall.  Little did I know, when I was first published in 1998, that I would run out of wall space for all of my cover art!  When I look up there, I see achievement, but I am also reminded of hard work and perseverance.  But mostly, I’m reminded that I have a wonderful, supportive husband who believes in me and that inspires me.


Oh, and Tim McGraw comes to visit every now and then.  Yes, it’s a life-sized poster of Tim given to me by a dear friend who knew how much I loved going to Tim concerts.


The cowboy shelf and mirror, the trinkets, the racing horses, red roses in a leather boot- one rose for each book I have written — the western candles and lamps, are gifts given to me by my sweet, supportive friends and family, our own Tanya Hanson included!  When I step foot in my office THAT is what inspires me. It’s not the objects themselves, but the love behind them that makes me smile every day as I sit down at the computer.  And it reminds me, when I’m on a deadline, or struggling with a plot, or having a difficult time focusing on my story, that I have the support and faith of my friends and family. I have love in my life and as romantic a notion as it seems, that shared love is the impetus and motivation that inspires me, more than anything else.


What gives you inspiration during your day, whether at work or at play?   One commenter will win a copy of  Charlene’s book. 






Barnes and Noble

Cowboy Chance Worth gets more than he bargains for when he saves damsel in distress Lizzie Mitchell. He has come to Red Ridge, Arizona, to rescue her family’s failing ranch and find Lizzie a suitable husband. Too bad it wouldn’t be honorable to keep the little spitfire for himself!


Lizzie may be innocent, but she’s not naive. Fully determined to find her own way in life, she doesn’t welcome Chance’s intrusion. But when he plans to leave she realizes she may not be ready to see the back of him just yet!


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25 thoughts on “INSPIRATION”

  1. I like reading too! And sewing and knitting, when I can think while doing something productive.

  2. Hi Pageturner – you are multi-talented! I love to read and wish I had more time for it. Nowadays, it’s all about writing and editing. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  3. Hi Charlene!

    My family and friends inspire me with their constant love and support, and the way they cheer me on when I’m ready to give up. Music always inspires me and I constantly listen to, mainly Country music, while I’m writing.

    Thanks so much for sharing your inspirations, and I love the wall of frames!

  4. I’m like you, Charlene. I get my best inspiration from other authors. Sometimes movies, too.

    My next book, Short-Straw Bride was inspired by the old musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Completely different story, but a careful reader will pick up on some lingering similarities.

    Fun post, today!

  5. Hi Kristen –ah, that’s so sweet what you wrote about your family. I think country music and the lyrics are such good storytelling. That’s part of why I love it so much.

  6. Hi Karen – I am awaiting SEP’s new book eagerly. I hope I have time to read it. I haven’t been able to read a thing lately…too busy.

    I love Seven Brides. I bet your book is amazing and I love the title..Short Straw Bride!:)

  7. Love your post, Charlene! Looks and sounds like you have plenty of inspiration around you. All authors need that to keep the stories going. I can believe that you ran out of wall space for your book covers because you’re such an amazing writer. I love your stories! And your new one was very special. Chance Worth was such a great hero, gentle and caring but tough as nails when he had to be. I loved the trail drive scenes and the deepening feelings between him and Lizzie. Great job!

    Wishing you tons of success, my Filly sister!

  8. What gives me inspiration depends on what I am doing at the time. When I am painting, a beautiful sunset inspires me, or when cooking I listen to music.
    Your book sounds really good and i have added it to my TBE list.

  9. Hi Charlene, I remember longingly many critique meetings with Tim Mc by out side. Sigh. My writing space is full of favorite stuff, not all of it Western. Lots of London memories.

    Love your books. xoox

  10. Hi Tanya – I still have the boot you gave me with the roses in it. And all the other cute western stuff you’ve given me for the inspiration room. I love it all. And I miss our Tim critique days too!!
    Thanks for the kind words about my books! Yours are awesome too!

  11. Love the horses pic… is that a wall plaque?
    Inspiration… for me music, my little nephew seeing him grow and learn, and nature… all the beautiful sights to see.

  12. Hi Charlene!
    WOW you do have a lot of inspiration! I can’t say I have any one thing that inspires me. I did have an old song, a folk ballad, that inspired a short story of mine–SCARLET RIBBONS–sung by the incomparable Harry Belafonte–It brings me to tears every time I hear it, and I’ve always wondered about “the rest of the story” — so I created one. It’s one of my favorite stories I’ve ever written. I read a book one time based on the old Looking Glass song, “Brandy”–it really was a good read, but I can’t remember who it was by now. I am jealous of your office! LOL I really need a dump truck to come to mine and clear it out and start all over again. LOL But YOU have inspired me, my filly sister! Great post–I loved it, and your book looks wonderful. Now, how am I going to have time to read all these books? LOLLOL
    Cheryl P.

  13. Hi Cheryl — I loved hearing about the way you finished a song by writing a book. So funny, your reference to dump trucks… my office gets cluttered too. Too many things happening all at once it seems! Thanks for the lovely compliments!!

  14. Hi Colleen – those horses are metal art, one of a kind by an artist. I’d been wanting them a long time, and once I achieved a writing goal, I rewarded myself… they are amazing in real life. Enjoy that little nephew of yours!

  15. I get inspiration from some paintings I have on my wall and music I listen to like the young Italian boys in the group Il Volo…I think if that can do that at such a young age I can go out every day and try to do something great.e Every morning I look into the eyes of my darling, sweet little (rescued) poodle dog named Cody….he gets my day started off with joy and inspiration.

  16. Hi Jackie — I love il Volo. I have heard them and and I love Il Divo too. Just such beautiful voices. Pets do make for great inspiration and Cody sounds like a wonderful little guy!

  17. What a thoughtful idea the wall of frames was. When you are having a difficult writing day, looking at it must be a good reminder to hang in there. Things will fall into place and your characters will start cooperating. Reminders of your friends caring and an occasional treat for yourself, would bring encouragement and a smile just when you need it.
    My inspiration is my husband. He is such a good man. We both are inspired by nature. A hike in the woods or just sitting on our porch is both calming and energizing. It just depends on what we need that particular day.

    Thanks for the enjoyable post and peak at your office.

  18. Forgot the music. I like show tunes, classical, folk, classic rock, some country, native American and ethnic music. You are most likely to hear celtic tunes playing. When the bagpipes are turned up high, you know I’m actually getting something done.

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