Finding Writing Inspiration
By Karen Randau
Finding inspiration for a book can come from a lot of places. I’ve been inspired by news headlines, dreams, and even offhanded comments by those around me.
The inspiration to write a book set in Wyoming came when I vacationed there several years ago. The beauty of the mountains, the sunsets, and the many ranches captivated me. Growing up with farmer grandparents in Colorado, I knew a smidge about ranching. When I was approached about being one of 19 authors writing novellas for a box set about serial killers, I jumped on the opportunity to write Mystery Bones Murders. That box set is now unpublished, and several of us authors have self-published our contributions as single books.
Mystery Bones Murders is about a woman named Frankie who finds a human bone on her land while searching for a stray calf one stormy night. Thrilled she may have found an ancient Native American village, she takes the bone to a friend who is a forensic anthropologist at the University of Wyoming. The news he delivers chills Frankie to the bone. Not only is the bone not ancient, but it could be the remains of Frankie’s mother, who disappeared in the middle of the night while Frankie was in college.
It turns out a serial killer has been burying his victims on Frankie’s land, and they all are people who were once part of Frankie’s inner circle. And now it’s clear the murderer is watching Frankie.
While this is not a romance, Frankie does find love. The thing is, she doesn’t want to fall for this guy. He’s a pastor, and she holds a secret that no pastor—or anyone else for that matter—would ever forgive her. She doubts God will even forgive her, but that’s irrelevant because she’s really mad at the deity who allowed her entire family to die, including her husband and young son in a car wreck.
I’ve incorporated into my writing what my international travels have taught me about the human spirit. Like all my protagonists, Frankie is a strong, resilient woman who would sacrifice anything for her loved ones. Even though she’s isolated and lonely, she finds joy in simple things, especially time with her animals.
With these characteristics in mind, I wrote Mystery Bones Murders not as a story of great heartbreak (but there is great heartbreak in Frankie’s story). Rather it’s a story of redemption and overcoming the obstacles life tends to throw at people.
I’m currently working on the next book in the Frankie Shep series, a winter survival adventure. Frankie is on her way to Colorado to speak about environmental protection at a rancher’s conference. Her airplane crashes on one of the highest peaks in the Rocky Mountain National Park. When rescuers never arrive, Frankie must get herself, a toddler girl, and a Pomeranian dog through arctic conditions down to civilization.