Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cherie Marks on Inspiration

Please help me welcome Cherie Marks to the blog as she talks about her inspiration to Into the Fire.

     Surfing the net, watching TV—are they colossal wastes of time or a place to find your ultimate inspiration?  Most of the time, a writer can squander way too much precious writing time going places on the web or gazing at the ‘ol boob tube, but for once, it was my lightbulb moment and inspiration for my debut story, Into the Fire, available October 5, 2011 from The Wild Rose Press.
     My guiltiest of guilty pleasures is reality television.  I could waste days watching these “realistic” scenarios play out with all the drama, suspense, characterization, and plot of any good story I might pick up from my favorite on-line retailer (cough, cough—The Wild Rose Press—cough, cough).  But, I don’t.  I have learned to limit myself to the best of the best—the cooking shows.  Not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill Guy Fieri kind of show.  No, I’m talking about the fast-paced, finger-slicing, sabotaging kind of competitions like Top Chef, Chopped, or Iron Chef America.  Needless to say, I have spent much time in front of the TV watching these shows, but I no longer consider them wastes of time.   Now, I consider them idea generators.
     The idea for my short story came during an evening of blog-hopping.  I came across an article about a popular blog that was being developed into a cookbook.  The blog description interested me—it was different, it was informational, it was scintillating—yes, scintillating.  You see, the blog was titled, “Cook to Bang,” and it was the idea of a single, young guy who was hoping to use food to get laid.  His recipe titles are ones that every fratboy worth his beer would be proud of, but that’s all it took for this story to begin in my head.  It is quite a bit removed from the original inspiration, but I had one question guiding me.  What if a chef used his cooking skills to win the heart of the girl he loved?
     Of course I am not a professional chef, so research would be necessary.  Ugh!  Not my favorite.  Then I remembered where I had seen professional chefs in action—on my TV screen.  Who said watching hours of television wouldn’t amount to anything?  Sorry, Mom.
     Honestly, I am not advocating spending hours in front of the television or on the internet in the hopes a writing idea will germinate, but let’s face it, you never know how inspiration will strike, so it never hurts to try.

So where do your ideas come from?  Any interesting moments of inspiration for you?

I love to hear from readers, writers, and in-betweeners, so please e-mail me at or follow me on Twitter at or catch me on Facebook at  

Months after he stole her affections—then her executive chef position—Shyann and Luke meet again under sizzling circumstances, competing head-to-head on a televised cooking show called Kitchen Twist. Each arrives with a motive: Luke intends to win back Shyann’s heart, even as she wants closure on the not-so-tasty heartbreak he once served up.
Luke knows culinary masterpieces require a delicate touch, but that knowledge is tossed out with the leftovers as he works to show Shyann he’s not such a bad guy. Now he pushes his skills to the limit to win the competition and satisfy a bet.
Can two top chefs resist each other as they move out of the pan and into the fire?
Silence reigned for half a minute before he reached out a hand and touched hers like a breezy
whisper. Her head went a little fuzzy at the warm contact. He shouldn’t still be able to affect her so
“I regret it went down the way it did, but why did you show me the exit before giving me a chance
to explain, not to mention—dress? Enlighten me, sugar cheeks?”
With a jerk, she pulled her hand free. He was really asking for it. Sugar cheeks? Seriously? Now
she knew he was only messing with her. She could give as well as she got.
“Tell you what. You win tonight, and I’ll give you your chance. You lose, we go our separate ways,
and you walk out all by yourself, big boy.”

A crooked grin formed on his face as he reached a hand toward her hair. He fingered an escaping curl
before she pulled away, leaving his hand hanging in midair.
“You can call me big boy all you want, but I’ll do you one better. How about if I win, I take you to
dinner, and you let me explain the whole situation?”
She felt her eyebrow rise and knew he’d read it as interest, but she didn’t care at the moment. “I
honestly don’t want to hear any explanation from you now or ever, but if I win? Which I will, of
“Then I’ll leave it up to you. If you want me to walk away, I will.” He took a step closer, placed his
hand on her shoulder, and leaned down, his mouth right next to her ear. “But if you want me to call you darling, sweetheart, and sugar cheeks all night long, I’ll do that too.”


  1. So exciting! Thanks for having me, Carrie!

  2. Hi Cherie!
    First, since I love you, I'll forgive the Guy Fieri remark. LOL
    I sometimes get an idea from TV. As you said, something just sparks and my imagination runs wild from there.
    Congrats on INTO THE FIRE! You know how proud I am of you:)

  3. I don't usually get ideas from tv, but then there's little chance of inspiration from Two and a Half Men. LOL JK I watch NCIS, CSI and don't write suspense so there's not a lot of chance over all for me there. But once in a while something sticks and grows in a different direction and an idea blossoms. Your book sounds enticing and fun! I'd love to read it. Do I need to leave this ?

  4. My daughter is a pastry chef at the Biltmore, so we often get into discussions about all that fancy sizzling and slicing! Recently she spent three hours at the ER with a co-worker who needed stitches. It can be a dangerous job!

    Though I write romance and fantasy, my day job is as a lawyer, so I'm afraid I get many of my inspirations from the courtroom. I'm not into the Grisham-style legal thriller but the people and how their lives are affected by what happens to them. So many opportunities for change and growth. Good material!

  5. And my email.... *shakes head* lyndialexander at Thanks! Alana

  6. Thanks for stopping by, Calisa. Never know when inspiration will strike. Your e-mail is all we need to enter you in the drawing.

  7. food and romance too. You've got a winner there Cherie, add in that except and I'm as warm as if I'd eaten a japaleno seeds and all. I don't think I've ever been inspired by a television show. Are you planning to put all that tv watching, er, research, to use by cooking up another romance?.

    linda.lindaandrews at

  8. Hi, Jennifer! *waves madly* So great to see you here. I'll take it easy on Guy since he has such a great thing going with D, D, & D's.

    Much love back to you.

  9. Ooooh no! Hope everything was okay with the co-worker. Alana, I'd say you do have a plethora of inspiration in a courtroom.

    Thanks for stopping by.


  10. Linda, lol! I believe the story's a winner and there is definitely some heat in this kitchen. And yes I am working on other ms that were inspired by TV and the media industry.

    Thanks for stopping,

  11. Hi Cherie - the moment is almost here! Release day!!

    I write suspense and fantasy. My fantasy tends to have elements of suspense in there too which I wholeheartedly blame on my favourite show "Dexter". Can't beat it for great characters and twists.

    I'm also working on a story idea at the moment that was inspired from watching the local News.

    TV is a great research tool I reckon. Thats my excuse anyway! : )

  12. Oops! Here is my email addy too : clarksnelson at clear dot net dot nz

  13. Thank you so much for coming everyone and Cheri! I love meeting new authors and having them drop by!

  14. I want to win! I want to win! This one's on my TBR. :-)

    Sounds like a wonderful book, Cherie. I can't wait to read it.

    sarah AT sarahgrimm DOT com

  15. LaVerne, I bet you get all kinds of interesting ideas watching Dexter.

    Thanks for coming by.


  16. Thanks, Sarah! No greater compliment than the TBR pile.

    Glad you stopped by!


  17. Carrie, thanks for hosting me! I had a blast on my first foray into guest blogging. Thanks for the experience.

  18. Hello Cherie! Well, being I write romance, my ideas come from a lot of different places, sometimes television, sometimes the lyrics of a song makes me think "But what if..." sometimes it's an image or a flash of something I hadn't thought of before.

    This one sounds great and I can't wait to read it, but you don't have to enter me. ;-) I'll be on the look out for it!

  19. Taryn, I love those lightning moments of inspiration. You have a release coming up too! Exciting stuff!

  20. Yes indeed, those are great moments and the release, yes, but still a few months off. Definitely exciting though!

  21. Hi Cherie, cool excerpt. Very interesting way to find inspiration. So do you like cook at all? I myself have not gotten the knack for cooking, my mother cooks the most awesomest Mexican food (that is my heritage), wish I could have picked up some motivation from her...but I just never did.

  22. And the winner of a copy of Into the Fire is:

    Calisa Rhose

    Thank you, ladies for stopping by and commenting.

  23. Great excerpt and very cool how you got your inspiration!