Friday, January 25, 2013

Story behind the Story

Michael W. Davis

Ever wonder where the story comes from for a novel. Did the author just pluck it from the air? Was it based on dreams? Is the backdrop real? Are the characters based on real people? Well, yes, yes, yes, sort of. All of the narrative can’t be derived from conversations, friends, family, fellow workers, etc else you’d get sued. But, the real world can form the seed for your musing, provided there is variance, molding, enough of a difference so only the author knows what’s real and what’s not. Need an example. Let’s take my most recent release, RIGHTEOUS FURY, which is derived from my experience working in support of the military and intelligence establishment.

Dreams for most of us burgeon from our frustrations, our fears, out passions, the stressors in our daily lives, or things that make us bite a lip or two. Well, about two years ago, I had a doozy. Involved sex, politics, technology, espionage, murder, lust; you know, the perfect components for a jaw whacking, gut wrenching, hormone stimulating knock out thriller. What it lacked was a unique character, someone most readers wouldn’t expect, but once introduced, would envelope the reader into the story by the turmoil and eventual strength of the main character.

Yeah, you say, but Mike, as a male author that focuses on romantic suspense/thrillers, you make all your hero’s like that? You got me. It’s true, but what if the hero, the character that solves the puzzle, that fights the unbeatable foe is a 24 year old female intel analyst that uncovers a plan to rip a vulnerable nation apart. Oh yeah, and she’s really got a thing for determined, physically powerful, and mysteriously spooky older guys.

Impossible, you say. Not really. I scrupled the heroine from someone I knew who was spunky as hell, smart as a whip, and really enjoyed, shall we say, physical contact. I added some flaws, some blind spots, and a little more “Curious as a cat” pondering and voila, we get Jodi Emery.  Now where should the intrigue take place? Just so happened I was going on a well-deserved one week excursion in the Outer Banks and fell in love with the area, its history, its scenery. What better place for the story to unfold, and it did. The submission editors were mesmerized by the beauty and realism of the setting and backdrop. Want to learn more? You can read a blurb and some excerpts at I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by the story, well perhaps a little OMG shocked by the ending.

Till next month.



Rita Bay said...

Great point. When you model a character from a real-life person, you already have built in a depth of character development. Love your new graphic. Gotta have one of my own. Off to PhotoExplosion. Rita

Rhobin Lee Courtright said...

Righteous Fury sounds excellent, and you gave a good description of the thought process for writing a story.

Big Mike said...

RF is my last suspense/thriller with a romantic flair, so enjoy. After 9 RS novels/stories need to recharge and off world allows my muse to behave more exotically, so the big guy is shifting to SF.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I loved your book, Mike. It was all you say and more. The characters stayed logical and acted o their motivations.

I'm familiar with the Outer Banks, our vacation spot for years when I was a kid.
You painted it well, and the setting stayed in mood with the action