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Most writers find inspiration in things they notice or read about—I’ve certainly read a news article and thought, “Hmm, that would make a good plot for a romantic suspense book.” For two of my romantic suspense stories, the general plotline has its roots in real life.

I based Dangerous Christmas Memories on a short news item about two celebrities who tied the knot in Las Vegas but didn’t realize it was a “real” marriage until years later. In my story, the heroine literally forgot she had said “I do,” in Vegas, then disappeared while the hero spent years looking for her.

And those two celebrities? They only found out they really were married when one was preparing for his own wedding and an attorney uncovered the previous marriage license record.

Illusion of Love-coverFor Illusion of Love, the genesis was the real-life story of a friend, who had experienced a heartbreaking—and rather horrible—online relationship. When I heard her story, I knew I wanted to write about it but with my own twists and turns. In fact, anyone who knows her story wouldn’t find many similarities with mine at all. But the basic idea, the seed that grew into Illusion of Love, was based on a true story.

But what makes using “true” stories as the foundation for a fiction story so much fun is that we can write our own endings—and our own beginnings and middles too. We don’t want fiction to mirror real life too closely!

 

Sarah Hamaker has been spinning stories since she was a child. Her romantic suspense books include Dangerous Christmas Memories (Love Inspired Suspense), Mistletoe & Murder (Seshva Press) and Illusion of Love (Seshva Press). Sarah lives in Virginia with her husband, four children, one foster child and three cats. Connect with her at sarahhamakerfiction.com.

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About Sarah Hamaker

A freelance writer and editor, Sarah Hamaker has written Ending Sibling Rivalry and Hired@Home. Her stories have appeared in several Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Sarah writes frequently about parenting for Crosswalk.com and the Washington Post's On Parenting blog. She won the 2015 ACFW Genesis award in romantic suspense.

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