I can’t speak for others, but my ideas come from a variety of places and almost always surprise me. At War with a Broken Heart was no different. It started with a song.
In my typical autistic way, I listened to “Be Still” by The Fray about a hundred times. I became obsessed. It even lulled me to sleep for months.
And then, from the vibe of the song, came a single line: “You broke me. You lost the right to put me back together.”
I had that line rolling around in my head for days.
It didn’t fit anything I planned to work on, so I jotted it down in an empty A5 Muji notebook (I use them for my book bibles.)
One line became a conversation.
“You broke me. You lost the right to put me back together.”
“Well, I hope it made you feel better to finally say the words. I still feel like shit.”
“You sent me to war with a broken heart.”
The characters hadn’t even been named yet. I didn’t know who said which part. Or if this would turn into a second chance romance.
And then, Fie Morogh Russell came first. Beardy bear of a man who makes pottery. The painful, heart-breaking words were his. His character clung to my muse.
Very distract and annoying since I was working on a different novel.
Some characters make me work for it. I tug their secrets out like a dentist with a wisdom tooth. Fie flooded my brain with more information than I could handle.
I knew he’d gone to war with a broken heart and returned a shattered soul. He’d lost friends—and himself in many ways.
He hid away with his dog, his music, and his pottery.
But those words wouldn’t leave me.
And At War with a Broken Heart finally came to live with Fie, Davet, and Sid.
It’s amazing how one line of dialogue can spawn a fifty-something word novel.