A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012


According to my American Heritage Dictionary, the meaning of the word stimulus is—“Something causing or regarded as causing a response. Something that incites or rouses to action.” As writers we can’t wait for stimulus. We pick up a pad and pencil or sit down at our computer and begin. At the end of the day, we may tap the delete key and erase every word we wrote but when morning comes we begin again.
But sometimes an ahhah moment occurs and we jump out of bed, throw on a robe, and turn on the computer and a flow of words gushes forth like some magic waterfall. Our brains cells have been stimulated by a book, an article, a painting, music, someone we love or a stranger passed on the street.
I remember the effect stories my mother would tell me on rainy days had on me, the first time I read Edna Ferber’s Show Boat in the school library and decided to become an actress, and the love of words resulting from a class in Shakespearean plays I took at night. Touring with shows led to a love of travel and articles.
In Verona I stopped by Giuetta’s House—an idyllic setting for a lover’s tryst. Romeo’s home is at 2-4 Via Arche Scaligere behind the Della Scala cemetery but in Verona, Juliet gets top billing and the story is called Giuletta and Romeo. The houses are fiction but it doesn’t matter—visitors believe. Young girls lean over the balcony and recite, the lovelorn leave messages and the setting was used as a backdrop for a motion picture.
Verona was a crossroads with merchants coming through for centuries. The Capulets, it’s said, were hat merchants and their competitors were the Montagues. A novel, titled La Giulietta, written by Luigi da Porto, was translated into French in 1525. But it is said that da Porto adapted the story from one in a collection written by Masuccio Salernitano, a poet who lived from 1410-1475, and is the story of Mariotto and Giannozza. Others claim it is da Porto’s tragic personal story—he fell in love with Lucia Sarvognan but his uncle's relationship with her guardian doomed the romance. The Italian Renaissance had a great influence on English poetry and drama and the Italian novella became extremely popular in 16th century England. Shakespeare turned La Giulietta into a long-running play titled Romeo and Juliet, around 1595. A festival of Shakespeare’s work may be enjoyed every July and August at the Roman Theatre at Rigaste Redentore—the perfect setting in the perfect city for a production of Romeo and Juliet. Ballets, musical comedies and operas have also been influenced by the Bard’s work.
In our time, P.D. James has channeled Jane Austin with her (or their) mystery Death Comes To Pemberley. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre inspired many future authors. The most famous is Wide Sargasso Sea, written in 1966 by Jean Rhys. The most successful novel written by Rhys and a prequel, the book tells the story of an unhappy marriage from the point of view of the first Mrs. Rochester. Many other authors have reworked the story including a 2010 novel that has Jane battling with vampires.
Who was your role model? What, where and when were you stimulated, inspired and hooked on writing?




Maureen A. Miller said...

Oh Elise, YOU are now my role model. Why didn't you take me with you?! LOL It sounds so beautiful, and yes, romantic.

Elise Warner said...

It was, Maureen. Italy is beautiful, romantic and sexy. Stimulates all the senses.

Jean Harrington said...

Elise, you post at 4;18 a.m.? I'm impressed. Did you just wake up, or were you awake all night? Either way, awesome.

I found your premise for being stimulated very interesting. Do you think the spin-offs are ever as successful as the original that well, stimulated the "sequel?" Can Jane Austin's voice be successfully replicated even by a master like J.D. James? Or can the magic (at least I found it magical) of the Rochester/Jane romance ever be surpassed by the story of the mad first wife? Don't know, but it's fun to contemplate. A good, thought-provoking blog.

Anne Marie Becker said...

STIMULUS - sounds like a great title for a book. ;)

The creative process is so interesting to me...who knows what little thing in daily life will plant a seed that will bloom into a great idea?

The impetus for my Mindhunters series was a show I happened to catch on T.V. - it talked about the Vidocq Society, which is a group of people with various specialties that get together over lunch once a month and discuss cold cases. Fascinating (and wouldn't I like to be a fly on their wall!).

Elise Warner said...

Jean--I have never figured out the time to post on blogger. 12:01 am worked a few times when I put it into the options then didn't. I actually had to go into the site at about 7:00 am this morning, tap edit and then publish. I don't think the spin-offs are as successful but it's been awhile since I read Jean rhys and now I have to do it again. I love Austin and P.D. James so I found the book James wrote great fun.

Elise Warner said...

Ann Marie: The Vidocq Society sounds fascinating. I look forward to reading your Mindhunters series.+

Shelley Munro said...

I saw a recent movie about the house in Verona. I think it was called Letters to Juliet or something similar. Very cool. Maybe I'll get there one day.

Wynter Daniels said...

For me, stimulus often comes from newspaper articles. Ripped from the headlines as they say.

Elise Warner said...

Shelley: A fun movie and the city is lovely and can really get the imagination going.

Elise Warner said...

Wynter: I get ideas for stories from the newspapers too then they take on a life of their own--no resemblance to the original article.

JB Lynn said...

My favorite stimulus

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