May 20, 2015
Idea Factories and Real Estate
People often ask me where I get my ideas for my books and I get some odd looks when I tell them that often I get my ideas from houses.
I'm not sure why, but I love browsing real estate listings--especially large older homes--imagining the lives of the people who live there and making lives, loves and memories up for them along the way. I'll often print out house plans and photos and pop them into an ideas folder and browse through them at a later date.
Maybe it's because I'm hopelessly sentimental but, to me, houses have a soul--a "feel", if you like--that's usually immediately apparent when you set foot in one. Lately we've been helping one of our kids as she and her partner have begun hunting for their first home. It's been an interesting exercise and, oh boy, have we seen some "interesting" properties but, if anything, it's heightened my belief that echoes of previous owners are so often left behind in a home. Of course, very many of the homes we've been looking at have been bought by investors, keen to make a profit on a swiftly (and not always well-) renovated property, and for most of these a lot of that "echo" has been obliterated, leaving new owners with a clean slate to move into and a new soul to set. But others, like a house we saw on the weekend, had been in the same family for over 50 years and you can "feel" the family vibe that new carpet and window dressings can't quite erase. So far we've only been to one house that gave all of us a cold sick feeling as we entered--coupled with a sense of relief when we left it--and we've seen one that would have been better demolished than lived in, but overall we've really enjoyed the experience.
When I started thinking about the story behind THE WIFE HE COULDN'T FORGET (out June 2015) it was only natural that I hit the real estate websites to find the right home for my characters. It didn't take long to find. An 1880s two storey dwelling in Devonport, one of the older parts of Auckland, New Zealand, was absolutely perfect. As soon as I found the house I could visualise scenes for Xander and Olivia Jackson with no effort whatsoever.
The story idea itself had rattled around in my head for many years--initially with my heroine suffering from amnesia. But then I got to wondering (as you do when you're a writer and daydreamer by profession), what if I turned the story around? What if my hero was the one with amnesia, and what if my heroine was prepared to do just about anything to win her husband back after tragedy tore them apart? Can they have a second chance at love or will Olivia's deception force them apart forever?
So, how about you? Do you like house-browsing? Old ones, new ones? Apartments? What's your favourite dwelling place? And do you have any fun stories to share?
Posted by Yvonne Lindsay
A typical Piscean, USA Today bestselling author, Yvonne Lindsay, has always preferred her imagination to the real world. Married to her blind date hero and with two adult children, she spends her days crafting the stories of her heart and in her spare time she can be found with her nose in a book reliving the power of love, or knitting socks and daydreaming. Contact her via her website http://www.yvonnelindsay.com