As a writer, a lot of people ask me about my influences. What inspires me to write? They often ask how I come up with the humorous situations my characters get themselves in. Now, I guess I can throw out a few names of authors who I really love and it would be fair to say they have had an influence in my professional life in terms of writing but if I have to be really honest, my greatest inspiration are the people who are around me day in and day out. My family and friends are by far the greatest influence in my writing. They are my idea generators. They are my characters (with names changed to protect the innocent, of course). I can watch them all day long and come up with tons of ideas for plots, dialogues, scenes, and unbelievably funny moments in my books. For example, my mother is the inspiration for Marty Peter’s mom in my book And The Winner Is. My mom, just like Deandra Peters, is caring and loving. She is the center of our family, the glue that sticks us all together, through the good and bad times. But, my mom can also be sarcastic, unforgiving and the best dispenser of guilt I have ever seen in my life. I really am convinced that the FBI could use a girl like her on their team. Forget interrogations! A half-hour in a padded cell with my mom and criminals would be spilling their guts out, doing anything to get away from her, begging on hands and knees for mercy. I’ve seen her technique. Let me tell you, it isn’t pretty.
Then there are my friends. What can I say about them? They litter my books with material. I have one very good friend of mine that is the model for all of my main characters. She is strong, smart, sassy, beautiful, opinionated and would go out of her way for a friend or anyone in need. She is a true friend and I can count on her for anything. But what I love most about her is that she is funny. And when I mean funny, I mean “laugh out loud, hand over my stomach, stop it I’m cramping” kind of funny. She has no filter and says anything she wants and does the most outrageous things I’ve ever seen someone do that allowable under the law. I treasure her because her adventures are mine. I tell her all the time that I borrow from her. She is my Marty.
So yes, I absolutely adore Sophie Kinsella and Cecilia Ahern. I admire Jane Green and Kristin Higgins. I am a fan of Emily Giffin. But my true inspiration? My family and friends. They are loud, obnoxious, ‘in your face’ kind of people and I love them to death. Without them, my life would be boring and my characters dull. Let’s face it? I wouldn’t be a writer without them.