Looking For Inspiration?

I rarely read the news. Ask me sometime to rant on the state of what passes as “News” in the US, if you like, but I’ll spare you my virtriol and shrieking for now. As it stands, I am on a 90% effective news fast.

This doesn’t mean I don’t read anything. I read everything I can get my hands on, and when I find stories about people, I imagine the romance within that story so fast you’d think I sneezed Care Bears and glitter. For example, I still have a cutout of this wedding announcement from eight years ago because the idea of a communal house in New York called “Aubergine” was enough to give me miniature stories to dream on for weeks, to say nothing of a ballerina marrying a PhD in European history. *le sigh*

Kathleen O’Reilly once told me that the inspiration for the O’Sullivan brothers series came from an article in a Manhattan newspaper (no memory of which one and there are, like fourteen different papers) about a group of brothers who owned a salad bar. Salad became cocktails and the brothers became some of my favorite male characters.

My new favorite “dream up a romance” news article is from this week’s Crain’s New York (a really fascinating newspaper about a subject I know exactly fuckall about): there are 9 New Yorkers on the US Olympic team, and they live in almost complete obscurity. Since New York is heavily populated by celebrities, athletes, and random famous people, the Olympic athletes from the five boroughs get very little attention – which is a screaming shame since it keeps them from lucrative sponsorship opportunities that might have allowed some of them to bring a parent to Beijing with them this week. While Olympic athletes are national heroes in other countries, in the US, that’s not so much the case. But the individuals profiled in the Crain’s article could make for the basis of a very fascinating character.

For example:  the 18 year old sharpshooter who cannot own a gun in New York, and thus stores her rifles in Long Island and then goes up “to shooting ranges upstate or in New Jersey to practice.” Or the 29 year old steeplechaser “who trains in Central Park and has clocked some of the fastest times in his event in U.S. history.” Fascinating people who I might walk past on my way to work, who next week will be competing in Beijing – and who could make fascinating fiction character foundations. (I don’t mean that in a creepy way.) (Travel safe, y’all).

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  1. 1
    eaeaea says:

    It’s hard to know what inspires us or our authors.

    Reminds me of a quote I read somewhere   –  Good instincts usually tell you what to do l-o-n-g before your head has figured it out.

    Something in the situation speaks to us. It may explain why I have a soft spot for historicals – I love the effort that goes into researching the period and the imagination to place the protagonists and their story there.

  2. 2
    CT says:

    That wedding story is beyond adorable.

    Thanks for the great daydreaming material today, Sarah!

  3. 3
    ev says:

    the 18 year old sharpshooter who cannot own a gun in New York, and thus stores her rifles in Long Island and then goes up “to shooting ranges upstate or in New Jersey to practice.”

    Even if she were 21, she would still have a problem since all firearms have to be registered in NYC. Which I do and dont’ agree with, but that is another whole story.

    Just curious- but don’t we have other olympians from NY that don’t live in the city? Or is NYC synonymous with NYState?

  4. 4
    Carrie Lofty says:

    I do that with the couples on So You Thing You Can Dance. It’s impossible for my brain not too, even though I feel like a goof.

  5. 5
    Silver James says:

    Dang, SBSarah! As if I didn’t have enough stories echoing around the vault of my imagination. If any editors out there are interested, I now have ideas for a romance series: Going for the Gold – all about Olympians, their trials, and their love lives (not that a sericous, dedicated athlete has time for a love life….and therein lies the goodness. :D)

    Enjoy RWA!

  6. 6
    Marsha says:

    That announcement…wow.  Lovely and I would have kept it, too, had I seen it.  After reading I recalled the announcement’s eight-year-old history and found myself wondering if the couple is still married.  I hope so.

    P.S. Did you ever see that NY Wedding announcements blog?  Wonderful stuff, that.  No longer being updated but worth searching out – and even that guy wouldn’t have touched this one had he been around then.

    P.P.S.  “anti39”  yes, I’m 39 and definitely anti-

  7. 7
    gusher says:

    thanks for sharing that great info pal, it’s interesting as this medal tally count and updates beijing olympics 2008

  8. 8
    TracyS says:

    That wedding announcement is just beyond sweet.  I loved it!!  An unlikely, yet likely couple.

    Olympians: here in WI they are a big deal. We don’t have a whole lot of famous people around here.

    Last Olympics, there was a huge sign the next town over (where the Hamm brothers~gymnasts~grew up) that said something to the effect that we were proud of them. LOL That sign was up for about 2 years after the Olympics ended!

    On authors and new articles: who knew that an article about the Navy SEALS Hell Week would spawn over 25 books (and counting) from Suzanne Brockmann?

    I’m always amazed at what catches the eye and imagination of an author.

  9. 9
    Chloe says:

    At first glance I assumed the steeplechaser was on horse-back.  I thoroughly enjoyed the image of a guy pounding through the wilds of central park on his “stallion”.  (mullet and frilly shirt fluttering all the while)  Then I read the wiki link.  That’s even better!  Now I see some guy running through central park leaping fences and muggers with equal ease!  I’m easily amused…

  10. 10
    Leah says:

    I love the idea of a communal house!
    I found some things about Marisa online….
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/01/obama-gets-very-flirtati_n_94477.html

    byMarisa.com (her clothing company)

    And here he is….
    http://www.lehigh.edu/~inprv/associateprofessor.html#savage

    So, since she is apparently in the Bethlehem area, and he is at Lehigh, I think we can assume they are still married?

  11. 11
    Tina C. says:

    I can’t find a picture of her where you can actually see her, but he’s very good-looking.  I really love that wedding write up and I do hope they still have their HEA.

    husband97—This thing really is sentient, isn’t it?  (Although it should have been husband ‘00)

  12. 12
    Tae says:

    The wedding story is adorable and it would make a wonderful romance novel.

    The story about the Olympians is sad, especially the stupid quote about “we’ll do something for them if they win something.”
    Sure they’re not in exciting sports, but it’s the freaking Olympics!

  13. 13

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