From Reality to Fiction ... Trish Wylie

For me, the ideas for a book are often several small things that suddenly mesh together. With O'Reilly's Bride it started in real life and grew.

It was the second time in my writing career that I had drawn from the things that were happening around me. With a previous book, I had been a third of the way through when a friend was involved in a car accident that led to memory loss, and the book took on an entirely new direction, and was then dedicated to that friends bravery for fighting through when so many in the medical profession said he wouldn't make it! This time it was a real life event that had been happening before my eyes for years, thankfully with a happy conclusion, and thankfully to good friends who didn't mind me asking them loads of questions about their experiences...

I had known one of them for years, had been there when he met his wife-to-be and fell in love. And with a common bond of a love for horses, I soon became friends with his wife too. Everything seemed perfect - they had a beautiful wedding, bought a gorgeous house, were both in well paid jobs... and then they tried for a family. Only to have to fight for years to eventually get there. It was a tough few years for them, fraught with hopes that were constantly dashed, tests of the strength of their relationship, doubts over whether or not to put themselves through it that one more time and it tested their love to the limits. But they came through. They got their family. And are so happy now that when they look back on it they know it was worth all the trauma. Which is a real life testimony to love and the bond between two people that carried them through adversity. How could I not find that inspiring?

But then I wondered how it would have been if they hadn't been married? What if one of them had known beforehand the trouble and heartache that would lie in trying for a family? And what if one of them had already been through so much that the other felt to deny them a full version of happily ever after would just be too cruel?

And therein lay my conflict.

With that in place I did what I always do, and went seeking pictures I could use as examples of how I pictured my hero and heroine. To me these pictures are a starting point, a visual image that can so often give me even more inspiration. This time the picture I found for my heroine was one of a beautiful, confident woman - the kind of woman who everyone would look at and believe that looking the way she did she couldn't possibly have any problems! My hero needed to be many things for her to love him so much she would try to give him up. He needed to have devastating good looks of course! But he also needed to have a vulnerability in his eyes, a warmth...

So, with pictures to use as a starting point my characters took shape.

Then I moved onto setting and back-story. Every one of my books has been set in Ireland, the island I call home, so that was an easy choice for me. Write what you know they tell you. So, I've never strayed far from that adage when it comes to setting... But the back-story was one that I tripped across, inspired in one of those momentary flashes of inspiration all writers get at some point or another. This time it was watching a Robert Redford/Michelle Pfeiffer movie about two journalists who fell in love - a film shown on TV that was broken halfway through with the news, ironically enough. And in the news there were reports from the middle east and from home, where a fishing village had a boat and crew missing. The combination of the film and the news reports gave me the part of the puzzle I was missing. And that light bulb moment. Suddenly Sean O'Reilly became a news cameraman who had seen the worst things in the world, and had come home to Ireland when he couldn't watch anymore - to try and build a life for himself, with family, with friends - and with love. How could Maggie Sullivan, the heroine who became the local news reporter he filmed every day, not fall for him? And how, when she found out she couldn't give him the family he so obviously needed, could she not try to set him free to find that with someone else?

And a story was born.

Nearly every book I have written has been borne from a chain of events. One small idea that gets added to and added to, until I have enough to begin writing. And then the characters take me where they will...

So, when you're looking for that next story, don't ignore those momentary flights of imagination and don't ignore the love stories that surround you in real life. You just never know what you might get when you put them all together!

H's & K'sTrish Wylie