Inspired by Books You Loathe

Did you expect me to say “Inspired by Books You Love”? Recently, someone on social media asked us to list the books that have inspired them because we love them so much.

Hmm. That’s tough. I love a lot of books. Really, truly love them. But those aren’t the books that get me going.

I am, apparently, a retaliatory writer. Drop a book in my lap that I end up hating and off I go. I will come up with a story idea with a character who fights her own fights, a character who isn’t clueless, or a St. Louis setting that is actually based on something in St. Louis, Missouri. Hey, I may not know the entire city but when you set your opening scene at a museum I know well, you better nail it. That’s all I’ve got to say.

My most recent motivation came from a radio story. We were zipping through Southern Missouri when the DJ read a headline about people returning to their favorite childhood books for comfort. He then went on to list several of the most popular. I’ve got to admit that I only heard the first one who said because it . . . it . . .

Photo by Atul Choudhary on

I couldn’t hear anything else over the shrieks of horrified book lovers in my mind. To put it mildly, I loathe this book. My actually tuned in long enough to make a comment. “Hmm. I don’t even know what that book is.” “Cause your mom despises it,” said my husband.

By the time we pulled into the drive hours later, I knew that I was going to write my own story. It actually didn’t take all that long to write the first draft because I’d been spinning it in my head.

Misleading titles. Romantic plots based on characters who can’t communicate. Mysteries with everything but a neon sign pointing to who did it. These are the things that inspire me.

Books that I love inspire me to read and that fuels my writing in an altogether different way.