Ideas for stories usually come two ways. Either you think of a character and then put them in a situation that will make them grow or you think of a situation and try to find characters that would struggle or thrive in that situation. Situations I've thought and written have included the Witness Protection Program, South American guerrilla groups funded by kidnappings. Characters have included the Amazon Queen, a gay navy SEAL named Deck.
With Rinse and Repeat, I got both at the same time. Just bam. A fully developed story idea and character in a very clear opening scene (it now stands as the third scene, not that you are counting). His name, Peat. What he is, a Repeater. Why he's in a skate park, to stop a murder. And I knew that Peat was gay. So I discounted the story idea. Sure gay romance is among my eclectic reading tastes but in the write-what-you-know tradition I didn't know gay.
But the idea wouldn't leave me alone. It dwelt in the in-between of wake and sleep, it floated to the surface in the daydream state of my daily showers. It got bigger. Peat became real and stubborn. So I went to my husband, thinking he would talk me out of the idea.
"I have this new idea for a story."
"It's about this guy who repeats the same day over and over to save people." I described how vivid the skate park looked in my head. How the natural conflict of being forgotten each day would torture my main character.
"Sounds good. But?" Because he knows me.
"Peat, the main character, is in love with the person he is trying to save."
"Assumed that, since you write romance and all."
"In love with the guy he is trying to save." Pause. "Peat's gay."
"I can't write that."
My response was fairly inarticulate.
"Just a different kind of research, right?"
Stephen King has never been abducted by aliens but he writes it fairly convincingly. Nora Roberts has never killed anyone but her villains give me the hebejebes.
So in researching for Rinse and Repeat (besides the looking for a publisher, reading what others have written) I read psychology books, attended PFLAG meetings, marched in a couple of pride parades (I have family members who are gay), I played pinochle with long term gay couples, I read The Joy of Gay Sex, I watched gay movies, I lurked on gay sport forums like OutSports, I followed Five Awesome Gays on Youtube and more.
And that was just for the characters. I also watched skating videos, attended the Citizen Police Academy and went to a local skate park to take pictures and talk to homeless guys.
I loved it. All of it. Hopefully I got it right and reading my story gives you the hebejebes or at least the warm fuzzies.
Rinse and Repeat on sale January 24th. Seven days! Check out the excerpt here. Available in ebook and Paperback.