Guest Post for Chronicalist – Finding Ideas for Your Book 

Where do you get ideas for your books? That’s a question I’m frequently asked by readers. Right up there with “Are your characters based on real people?” It’s not like I just suddenly have a eureka moment and sit down and start writing. No, it’s more difficult and complicated than that. 

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I have folders full of story ideas. Hundreds of ideas. Many of these ideas date back twenty or thirty years or more. These ideas often come from really odd places. Maybe something I overheard in the weapons section at WalMart or at departure Gate 8A in the Tunis airport or while waiting for the Yo-Yo Ma concert to start. I also get new ideas from reading the daily newspaper or watching the evening news. There’s just some unbelievable stuff going on in this world.  As I write down and collect this myriad of ideas, my brain keeps asking, “What if?” And my answers to this question turn into ideas for new stories. 

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For example, the idea for my third women’s fiction book, Rotten Bananas and the Emerald Dream, started when my husband and I took a Caribbean cruise to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. We met two bored and unhappy teenage sisters traveling with their parents. A plot began forming in my mind. What if exciting things happened to the sisters during the cruise to make it unforgettable? What if the parents had to stay home and only the sisters made the cruise? What if they met a stowaway onboard the ship? What if they crossed paths with smugglers? What if one of the sisters fell in love with the handsome ship’s officer, who later turned out to be involved with the smuggling ring? What if someone tried to kill them to keep them from snooping around? Many cruises and many anniversaries later, this book was finally written and released Thanksgiving 2019. But the teenage sisters over the years became three retired women who lived in a retirement community and went on a Caribbean cruise for a little fun, adventure, and excitement. 

The idea for my newest book, a YA paranormal titled Not Myself Today and released September 2020, started when I saw the funny, Disney movie Freaky Friday about a mother and her daughter who switched bodies. I loved the whole body-switching thing, but if I wrote a body-switching story, I didn’t want it to be a light, frothy, laugh-out-loud story. What if I wrote a Freaky Friday meets Stephen King story? I set that idea in my file. Then in 2001, I read a newspaper feature series in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about child sex trafficking in Atlanta. What if the protagonist is a renowned woman scientist working in Atlanta? Maybe around 58 years old? Her career well established? Married to the man of her dreams with a teenage daughter? What if she dies and wakes up in the body of a teenage sex trafficking victim?  

I set that idea aside for ten years. YA books started becoming popular. Hunger Games. Twilight. Divergent. The Mortal Instruments. My daughters asked me to write a YA paranormal for them to read. What if my protagonist became an 18-year-old high school soccer star with a full-ride athletic scholarship to Stanford after graduation? What if she kicks the winning goal for the state championship, dies on the field, and wakes up in the body of a 14-year-old sex trafficking victim who has stolen her drug-dealing pimp’s money to escape her life as a sex slave? What if no one believes the soccer star when she says she’s not herself today? What if she tries to get back her old body? What if her dad has it cremated? 

About the book:

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Blog Tour: Not Myself Today by Muriel Ellis Pritchett

Genre:  YA paranormal thriller

Publication Date: 24th September 2020

Standalone Novel

Estimated Page Count – 215

Potential Trigger Warnings: child sex trafficking (but no sex scenes); drug use, drug addiction, and drug dealing mentioned only; guns fired, but no one killed; physical violence mentioned; STDs mentioned, child molestation

Summary:

High school soccer star Lindsey Anderson was at the top of her game with graduation approaching and a full-ride soccer scholarship offer in her hand. Then she dropped dead on the soccer field, only to wake up in the body of a teenage sex-trafficking victim. No one believes who she really is. Not even her dad. Chased by her new body’s drug-dealing pimp and rabid parapsychologists out to dissect her, Lindsey tries to get her body and her life back before graduation day. Can her BFF and the high school nerdy boy she detests help save her life?

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