In this case, my brain had been picking away at a story idea for years. I only had a nugget in mind (which I can’t tell you without spoiling the story), and I couldn’t quite sort out how to turn the nugget into something more. When I saw Mitzi Szereto’s Call for Submissions for her upcoming Darker Edge of Desire anthology I knew my nugget had a chance of becoming a story, and that she was one of the few editors who’d welcome my twisted, dark story where nothing is quite as it seems. But, it wasn’t until I saw this picture of Christian Bale that everything started to fall into place. I could finally see the character that had haunted my brain, demanding me to tell his story. The only problem was that his story and the one in my head were connected by only tenuous threads of an idea. So, I started writing. I listened to the man in this picture and, when a flashback scene demanded an accurate setting, I researched. My research led me to articles and pictures about a “love in” at a park in Los Angeles on Easter Sunday back in the ’60’s and that’s when all the pieces came together and my story (his story) became clear.
The resulting story, Red House, was accepted for publication. Validation is always a lovely thing, but even better is when the character who’s been whispering in your ear for years finally says, “Thank you,” and sinks back into the darkness, content.