Monday, June 18, 2012


I was shopping in Ellicott City a couple of weeks ago. I should go down there more often just because it’s a good place to soak up charm. It’s a 250-year-old town about fifteen minutes from where I live in Maryland. The kind of place where you drive right out of the modern world and into the past. I’m lucky it’s so close by, and I’ve used it in several of my books, including HER BABY’S FATHER, my Harlequin Intrigue coming out in September. 

Strolling the narrow streets and driving up into the steep hills above Main Street give me inspiration for books. It’s kind of like going to an ancient European town. Main Street is deep in a river valley, lined with stone buildings that have been converted to shops and restaurants.  There are antique dealers and quirky boutiques you won’t find anywhere else. And there’s a railroad museum, converted from the first terminus of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which came to Ellicott City from Baltimore.  In 1830 a horse raced a train speeding along the tracks, and the horse won.

One shop I love is the Forget-Me-Not Factory.  
It’s got all kinds of weird and wonderful stuff--from dragon and wolf ornaments to costumes I might want to wear at the RT Booklovers Convention. On my last visit, I found a deck of cards with three howling wolves on the back, I snatched them up. They’re perfect for me. I love wolves, especially werewolves, of course. 
Writers get their inspiration from anything and everything around them.  Over the years, the charming streets of Ellicott City have given me a lot of  food for thought, starting way back when I wrote for Dell Ecstasy. Remember that line? If you do, you’re admitting that you were reading romances in the early 80’s—when I started writing them.

Before I became a novelist, I began my writing career as a newspaper reporter, and one of the papers I wrote for was the Howard County Times, which was published in Ellicott City.  Back before they got the flood control straightened out, the town would be inundated with water during bad storms like Hurricane Agnes in 1967. That storm made an impression that stuck with me, and in RELUCTANT MERGER (published in 1983), I had my reporter heroine trapped in the newspaper plant during a flood—which I moved down by the river to make the setting more dangerous.  The water was rising, and the newspaper owner hero came charging to the rescue. They had to save each other from drowning and ended up making love, of course. 

The hero of my novella “Remington and Juliet” has an estate outside of Ellicott City.

Several of the werewolf heroes in my Moon series live in Ellicott City. They don’t care much about the charm of the old town, but they do like the surrounding wooded areas where they can change from human to wolf form and go for a nice run where nobody’s around. 

I love traveling, and I get lots of ideas for my books from far-flung locations. But I’m lucky that I don’t have to travel far to soak up some of the best atmosphere around.

Do you have an area near your home that’s oozing with charm?

Comment or tell me what you think of the cover of HER BABY'S FATHER for a chance to win a copy of my Harlequin Intrigue, SUDDEN INSIGHT.


Elizabeth Ashtree said...

The cover is hot! Love it. And you're right that writers get their ideas from all around them. Sometimes I get ideas from the strangest places - the plumbing, the lady across the street, my grandson. You just never know!

Rebecca York said...

The cover's hot, but there's always something--like the odd angle of their arms!

Tamara LeBlanc said...

Hi Rebecca, I just left PFHT blog and zipped right over to read yours.
I too get inspiration from just about everything around me. I happen to watch a lot of TV. I have many favorite shows, The Walking Dead, True Blood, The Killing, The Big Bang Theory and Seinfeld, to name a few. I sometimes get ideas from these shows, but I also watch a slew of educational programs. These, the biographies, the documentaries, are the places I get most of my ideas from. In fact, my recent finished WIP idea came from a historical documentary I watched on San Francisco.
There are so many things and places and events to inspire us, like Elizabeth mentioned, you just never know.
I enjoyed this post as much as the PFHT one!
Have a great evening:)
Tamara LeBlanc

Anna G. said...

Inspiration does come to writers everywhere...the other day I asked my mom what her great uncle's name was, and voila'! A secondary character in my manuscript was named!

Rebecca York said...

Oh Anna, that's so funny! We were just on a cruise and there was this guy who was obnoxious. I wanted to tell him he'd just become a character in one of my books, but I kept my mouth shut.

Dana Marton said...

I can' wait to read the book!

Like you, I'm influenced by my environment when I write. My romantic suspense GUARDIAN AGENT was inspired by a trip to Venice. I was fascinated by the back streets of Venice, the parts you never see on TV or post cards.

We took a wrong turn one day and ended up in some deserted sections with crumbling palaces and boarded up windows. Who knew Venice had a seedy side? But it was so real. Somehow more real than the picture perfect sections. I immediately knew that I'd be setting a story there someday.