Skip to content

Guest Blogger Andrew Grey: Inspiration

August 22, 2010

As an author, one of the questions I get most is where do I get my inspiration.  For me, I’m inspired by things and events all around me.  They may be unique things, or everyday things that suddenly seem new.  For my upcoming novel, A Shared Range, the story idea came to me as I was watching the Ken Burns documentary on America’s National Parks, specifically, the portion where the documentary discussed the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone.  That brief scene sparked an idea, and I was up all night because the story kept flowing and I had to get it down.  The entire Children of Bacchus series was inspired by a nineteenth-century bronze that stands in my dining room.  I’d seen this piece for years, but a stray idea over Thanksgiving dinner turned into three novels and several short stories.  Bottled Up and Uncorked were inspired by the opening of my brother’s wine store.   

The thing about inspiration that I’ve learned is that you don’t have to wait for it to strike—you just need to recognize it when it happens, and remember that inspiration is not a lengthy visitor.  For example, I was attending a symphony performance at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA.  During the performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, I found myself watching the violinists and then I let my eyes close.  That brief moment made me wonder what it would be like for a blind musician.  On the way home from the performance, my partner graciously drove while I sat in the back seat, frantically scribbling the initial notes for what would become Love Means… No Boundaries.  Yet, later that evening after dinner and conversation with friends, I stumbled back on my notes, surprised at what I’d written down, because as strong as the idea had been at the time, my mind and attention had moved on to all the other things that happened during the day.  If I hadn’t made the notes during the drive home, I’d have lost the story.  Instead, I got the character Robbie, who’s one of my favorites. 

My favorite and most naughty bit of inspiration came for the gym series.  Spot Me was inspired by one of the men at the gym.  The inspiration for the character Gene is straight and a former college football player.  He also has no idea that he inspired a story, and he’d probably kick my butt if he found out.   The loud-mouthed character Lonnie in Spot Me, Pump Me Up, and An Unexpected Vintage was inspired by my workout partner of the same name.  For the stories, I actually had to tone him down, because if I wrote him as he really is, no one would believe the character.  Of all the characters I’ve created, he’s the one that most resembles a real person. 

You can’t force inspiration, but by keeping attuned to what is around you, you may be surprised at the gifts of inspiration just waiting to be opened.  So regardless of what your creative endeavors are, when inspiration strikes, grab hold and don’t let go.

Find my m/m fiction at:
Live Journal:
Web Site:
And on Twitter:

7 Comments leave one →
  1. adrianakraft permalink
    August 22, 2010 9:09 am

    Thanks for stopping by and chatting with us, Andrew! We watched the National Parks documentary too and have a few story leads percolating. Ideas are always presenting themselves – what’s important is to stay open to them, and to get them written down as soon as possible in order not to lose them! Sometimes whichever one of us is driving will dictate to the other, so as not to lose the moment. We’re still working on a story inspired by seeing a construction worker unloading lumber as we drove through Superior, WI – as we got closer, we saw the worker was female. The Painter is a Lady is now drafted and undergoing our editing scrutiny before being sent off!

    • August 22, 2010 1:06 pm

      That is so cool. If you hadn’t caught that detail, or dismissed her, you’d have missed the story.

  2. Debby permalink
    August 22, 2010 12:36 pm

    Great comments. It sounds like inspiration is serendipitous. You must be open to it to recognize it. I enjoyed reading what you wrote. I will have to look for your books. Never read one before.

    • August 22, 2010 1:04 pm

      Inspiration is serendipitous, it strikes when it wants too. I just finished a story inspired by a moose that used to visit the bird feeder in my aunt’s back yard in Anchorage. I ran across an old picture and thought ‘what a great story.”

      • adrianakraft permalink
        August 22, 2010 9:56 pm

        I love how a picture can bring back a past moment and create new inspiration long after the original experience. Plus we both love moose moments – will have to check out that story!


  1. Tweets that mention Guest Blogger Andrew Grey: Inspiration « Adriana Kraft --

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: