Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Story Ideas by Robin Caroll

All her life, Robin Miller, writing as Robin Caroll, has been writing. Whether in diaries, journals, short stories, poetry, or fiction, she's been drawn to the storytelling aspect in life. She loves everything about books--the way they look, the way they smell, the way they feel. The author of 11 books and counting, Robin and her family proudly live in the South, with all its hospitality and days-of-ole traditions.

Story Ideas

I get asked all the time where I get story ideas. Most authors will tell you that they get ideas from everywhere…newspapers, magazines, newscasts, people watching, etc. One thing I’d never really considered is how to use the bad facts.

Point in case: One night, my husband and I were watching Dateline on NBC and they began a segment on child trafficking. Now, as a mother of three daughters, what I saw shocked and appalled me. I wanted so badly to change the channel, but I couldn’t. These poor girls’ plight ate at me. Made me raw. Made me physically sick.

Even after the show was over, I couldn’t get those children out of my head. I tossed and turned for the greater part of the night. Prayed. But my spirit was still at odds.

The next morning, I began some internet research on child trafficking. And got sicker. This was happening with such frequency and so many—right under my nose, and I’d had no idea! Talk about making me angry. Aside from the Dateline special, there weren’t reports every night on the news. There weren’t huge write-ups in the papers. This modern day slavery was silently happening every single day, and the vast majority of Americans were totally unaware.

At that point, I knew I’d have to write a book about this travesty. Since I write suspense, I knew that at least in my book, there’d be some justice for these children. And if a publisher would contract the book, maybe, just maybe, I could help raise awareness of this horror occurring. That was back in 2005 when I began writing Deliver Us From Evil.

The book was contracted by B&H Publishing in September 2008, and was released February 2010. In those five years, a lot of awareness has been raised regarding human trafficking. A lot of celebrities have gotten involved and speak out publicly. Several wonderful organizations have been formed and are making a difference. Just this past December, President Obama announced January was human trafficking prevention month.

So strides are being made to overcome this heartbreak. People are banning together to make a difference. And I’m very honored and pleased that my publisher has taken a chance on a book with such a hot and heartbreaking topic to allow me to tell a story and help keep raising awareness.

And I learned through the experience. Sometimes, story ideas aren’t always the unusual to have cool plot twists. They aren’t always a germ of an idea to teach a lesson. Story ideas aren’t always warm and fuzzy. Sometimes, just sometimes, a really horrifying and sickening fact can be turned into a book plot that will ultimately help in raising awareness of a global problem. At least in my instance, I pray that’s the case.

Deliver Us From Evil

A beautiful yet tough woman working in a beautiful yet tough setting, Brannon Callahan is a search and rescue helicopter pilot for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Strong faith and a decorated history of service have kept her one step ahead of on-the-job dangers, but there’s no precedent for what’s about to happen.

After a blizzard takes down a small plane carrying U.S. Marshal Roark Holland (already haunted by a recent tragedy), Brannon must save him in more ways than one and safeguard the donor heart he’s transporting to a government witness on the edge of death. Otherwise the largest child trafficking ring in history—with shocking links from Thailand to Tennessee—will slip further away into darkness along the Appalachian Trail.

---"The kind of novel 'Ripped from the headlines' was meant to describe. Compelling."--James Scott Bell, author of Deceived and Try Fear


Ane Mulligan said...

I always see things in the paper that spark ideas. Unfortunately, most are suspense ideas, and well ... you know me.

But every so often, a scrap of a conversation will start my thoughts spiraling out into storyland. :)

Thanks, Robin.

Ron Estrada said...

The book was fantastic, Robin. But even if the writing was off (which it wasn't), the theme alone would have carried it. I think that's important for a writer to grasp. As Christians, we're not just here to get published. We've been given a gift, one that should be used for God's glory. You did that. God bless you and everything you write from now on.

Gina Holmes said...

Seriously cute picture of you!

Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist said...

I am really interested in the process of nugget, idea, flash of insight to yes! this is what the next book will be.