Writing is my job. Granted, it’s something I love doing, but it is still work. Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to be inspired, and sometimes things just come to me, like manna out of the sky, and I’m off and writing. Manna doesn’t come often, not every day like in Exodus. So usually I’m working for it. There are three things that help get me motivated and get the words on the page.
Manna doesn’t come often, not every day like in Exodus. So usually I’m working for it. There are three things that help get me motivated and get the words on the page.
1. Crime inspires me. Kind of twisted, huh? The music that plays when the TV show Forensic Files comes on is eerie and signature. Count on it, there’s going to be a true crime story and an involved murder case solved by diligent cops and forensic scientists. I love it. And I watch the show because it gets my mind thinking and plotting and often, writing a story.
And then there are other crime and suspense novels. I’ve always loved reading crime thrillers. They are puzzles, and I love puzzles. Sometimes criminals get away with crimes for a long time, and the challenge in fiction is to make the story realistic enough, but not to let the bad guy get away with anything.
My new novel, Crisis Shot, was inspired in part by real-life scenarios playing out in several cities around the country: police-involved shootings. In the opening scene of my story, Tess O’Rourke is forced to make life-and- death split-second decision that ultimately costs her her dream job.
2. Travel and God’s creation inspires me. There was a saying in the TV show Castle: “The point is, there’s always a story. You just have to find it.” When I’m away from home—it can be as simple as a hike to a mountain lake—my mind is working out stories and what-ifs. The other day I hiked two miles to a beautiful mountain lake, just for the day, but it was a rugged camping area. Late in the afternoon, on the way out, a young man was just backpacking in. He looked well outfitted with
When I’m away from home—it can be as simple as a hike to a mountain lake—my mind is working out stories and what-ifs. The other day I hiked two miles to a beautiful mountain lake, just for the day, but it was a rugged camping area. Late in the afternoon, on the way out, a young man was just backpacking in. He looked well outfitted with tent, sleeping bag, etc., for an extended stay in the area, all by himself.
That got me thinking. What if he’s running from something? Or planning a crime in the wilderness? Or on and on. It was great fun.
After writing eight books set in California, I moved north to Oregon and created a fictional town along the Rogue River in the beautiful Cascades. Rogue’s Hollow is filled with all sorts of interesting characters for Tess to meet.
3. Writing resources are a great help. Whether it be a book someone smarter than me has written about writing, or a trip to a writing conference, or just talking to another writer friend, I’ll look to writing resources if I need help or I’m stuck on something. Several accomplished writers have written great books on writing that are inspiring.
Organizations like American Christian Fiction Writers and Oregon Christian Writers are also great resources. It’s inspiring to chat with someone who understands the thought process. Last November, I challenged myself to participate in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the first time. Having a set goal to reach each day gave me added motivation to finish writing Crisis Shot.
I love to write and believe that I am called to it. But sometimes it’s not easy. I don’t mind the work; it’s part of the fun. I always have to remember to not let myself stay stuck. That’s when I need to do something to push away the block and get inspired.
RELATED LINK: [Interview] Janice Cantore: The Heart Behind The Badge
About Janice Cantore
Janice Cantore is a retired Long Beach police officer who now writes suspense novels to keep readers engrossed and leave them inspired. Her twenty-two years of experience on the force lend authenticity to her stories. Crisis Shot is the first title in her Line of Duty series. Janice also authored the Cold Case Justice series—Drawing Fire, Burning Proof, and Catching Heat—the Pacific Coast Justice series—Accused, Abducted, and Avenged—and the Brinna Caruso novels—Critical Pursuit and Visible Threat. She also writes a blog about police work.
About Crisis Shot (Tyndale House Publishers, September 2017)
Tess O’Rourke dreams of becoming the first female chief of police in Long Beach, California. As commander of the East Division, she is well on her way–until the night she responds to an officer-needs- assistance call and fatally shoots an unarmed teenager. Despite being cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury, Tess is so hounded by the public that she takes a job in Oregon to escape the bad press.
Winning over the residents of Rogue’s Hollow might be more difficult than adjusting to her new role as police chief in the small, backwater town. Especially when her closest friend, the pastor’s wife, goes missing and the woman’s cousin is found shot. Tess finds an ally in sheriff’s deputy Steve Logan, but as they track down Rogue’s Hollow’s first murderer, she worries that she’s breaking one of her rules and getting too close to him…