Inspiration by Wendy Byrne

accused_coverFinalInspiration comes from the strangest places at the oddest times. First off, I love to observe people’s behavior, their conversations, maybe adding some additional scenarios in my head about what’s going on. I might see a woman wearing something that’s interesting and unique and the beginnings of a new character might be born. Or I might overhear a conversation and think about how something might fit in a storyline.

As an example, one time when I was on a commuter train, I overhead two dads talking about their kids. Nice, right? Then the one dad said something that really made me smile. He remarked to the other dad that it was Wednesday which meant it was daddy daughter dinner night and that on daddy daughter dinner night, they always ate desert first. Awwww. Wasn’t that the sweetest thing? I thought what a lucky girl to have a father like that. I still haven’t figured out a way to work that conversation into a story, but I will eventually.

Life experiences. Sometimes good and sometimes bad might also be the jumping off point for inspiration. My book Accused started with a nightmare. I woke up shaking with the vividness of a dream. My eldest son had been arrested. Knowing my son was safe and sound and it was only a nightmare made my writer’s wheels start to turn. The feelings from the dream returned to me: the terror I would feel as a mother if that happened, the second guessing I would do, and what would be the worst thing that could happen—the son could be charged with murder.

I immediately started to work. I had such a vivid picture of Jillian (my heroine) and what she would experience. But I needed to think about her son (Travis) as well. What circumstances led to the arrest? What was he going through? Why? And then I started to think about the hero in the story. I knew I didn’t want to make him the detective because that felt too cliché. I started to think about how the hero (Sam) might be connected to Travis. That’s when I came up with the thought that Sam could be Travis’ football coach/mentor. And what if Sam had a troubled past himself, how would that play into the story?

This is where my own background comes into play, I’m a social worker by profession and worked many years in the field of child welfare. I always thought about how kids growing up in the system needed somebody to love them unconditionally, to be there for them and support them. Sadly, most of the time, this isn’t the case. But what if Sam had a troubled past with a mom who was on drugs, but managed to end up in a foster home with a woman who believed in him, who didn’t think he was a bad kid, but a kid who needed some love and guidance. So when I wrote Accused, I thought about a series of books all inter-connected by being loved and nurtured by a foster mother by the name of Mama Iris.

Below is a short excerpt from Accused:

The old floorboards creaked and groaned under Jillian’s tentative steps. Pacing lent itself to distraction. Leg up, leg down, creak, leg up, leg down, creak. Turn, take a sip of cold coffee. Repeat.

The problem was that when she stopped calculating each step, it became second nature, thus freeing her mind to remember why her heart fluttered, her stomach clenched.

Glancing at the clock for the hundredth time, doubt surfaced.  Glowing numbers mocked her as if to say, “You shouldn’t have trusted him.” Two in the morning. Where in the hell was he?

Jillian’s smoldering anger exploded into fear as she waited for her sixteen-year-old son Travis to come home. She tamped down worst case scenario thoughts as she dialed his cell phone once again.

Directly into voicemail.

Damn it!

She must have called thirty times since his eleven-thirty curfew had come and gone. If he’d been in an accident, she would have heard something by now. Then again, the roads leading to their home on the mountain were isolated, especially late at night. He could have run off the road and be lying unconscious in a ditch.

Being a single parent with all sorts of tragic scenarios bouncing around her head was hell. But she couldn’t say that married to Archie had made things easier. He was rarely home, and when he was, he usually detached himself from any parental responsibility. If he were around, no doubt he’d be in bed, sound asleep—no help whatsoever.

Jillian peeked out the window, hoping to glimpse headlights coming up the mountainous road. Her gut clenched and unclenched with each passing moment.


After everything they’d gone through, he wouldn’t do this to her. Something had to be disastrously wrong. Travis was a good kid.

She ran fingers through too long, in-desperate-need-of-color-hair and considered contacting the police. Hand poised over the phone, she contemplated the repercussions….

Would they take her seriously, given his recent history? He’d run away before. They’d theorize he was back at it again. But her mother’s instinct told her this time was different.

wendy.smallThanks, Cindy for having me on your blog! I will select one random winner for a $5 Amazon gift card from anyone who signs up for my newsletter at

Wendy’s Amazon Author Page





2 thoughts on “Inspiration by Wendy Byrne

  1. I loved your post. It’s always interesting to see where other writers get their inspiration. Like, I just got inspired by your post.

    Thanks for the excerpt. Congrats on the new book.

  2. I often get my ideas from strange places like the grocery store. 🙂 I love overhearing people talk too.

    I love the idea of your story. I would freak out if my child was arrested. I wish you all the best!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *