Today I welcome Erin Rhew to the blog to talk inspiration!
Thank you so much for hosting me today, Julia! And hello to Julia’s readers. <waves>
I’m here as part of the Rhew 2 Rhew tour! My husband, Deek Rhew, wrote an amazing thriller called 122 Rules, published by Pandamoon on April 5! In addition, my publisher chose the month of April to feature my trilogy, so Deek and I decided to make a thing of it. And the Rhew 2 Rhew Tour was born! 😉 Stay tuned because there’s an opportunity for you to enter a Rafflcopter drawing for a chance at a $50 Amazon gift card!
Julia asked me to share my top 10 inspirations. As authors or artists of any kind, we’re always look for inspiration, muses to help spark our creativity, and I believe it can be found in all walks of life. Here’s my list (in no particular order, except that I saved the most inspiration for last).
1) Books. I believe every writer should be a reader. In my literature class in college, our professor said there are only twelve basic storylines (I’ve heard a variety of different numbers since then but sufficed to say it’s limited). As a writer, it’s our job to come up with unique and varied ways to retell these basic storylines in a way that’s fresh and new. Read a lot and read often. So many stories have touched my soul and sparked my creative mind. In fact, I don’t think The Fulfillment Series would have come to fruition if my Dream Team friends Danielle and Ginny hadn’t insisted I start reading the young adult genre.
Boyd Crowder is one of the most interesting and complicated villains I’ve ever seen.
3) Movies. Do you notice a theme? Hahaha! There are certain movies that have stayed with me for years and years after I watched them. It’s the mark of a great story, compelling characters, and talented actors. And these things spark the mind. For example, I love the movie Tombstone (and Val Kilmer, but that’s a whole other story–LOL). I’m fascinated by the friendship between lawman Wyatt Earp and outlaw Doc Holliday (who were real people, BTW). This relationship, which seemingly defies the natural order of things, challenges me to create characters who are rich and complex–good guys who aren’t all good and bad guys who aren’t all bad.
“I’m your huckleberry, and that’s just my game.”
4) Family. I’m Southern and have a HUGE Southern family. Every year, we gather together for Thanksgiving and Easter, and it’s such a meaningful part of my life. I am fortunate beyond measure to have such a big, loving family who supports me and stands behind me no matter what. I’m inspired by their love. And with a group so large, there are plenty of interesting tales of love, survival, loss, pain, and redemption to draw from. If you read the reviews of The Fulfillment Series, many people applauded the familial relationships in it.
Me and my PaPa (grandpa). He calls me his “BabyDoll.”
5) Friends. I’m so thankful to have tons of wonderful friends in my life. Like my family’s, my friends’ stories provide me with inspiration. They’ve opened themselves up and bared their souls to me, and I’ve grown to see that life is not black and white. There’s so much gray and uncertainty. Choices, even bad ones, don’t happen in a vacuum. It’s a million little things that lead to a certain moment, a million little emotions and choices that go into it. I’m grateful to my friends for being so open and honest with me and evolving my understanding of humanity and human nature.
And not only do their stories teach me, but they do as people. I’m a big proponent of strong female friendships. Let’s cut the competition business and band together. When I started writing The Fulfillment Series, I asked four of my literary friends to help me out, and they became my Dream Team. Without them, The Fulfillment Series would not exist, and you can see the threads of our friendship woven into the female relationships in my books.
(from the left: Danielle Craver, Dawn Ward, Ginny Hunsberger, and Kim Sharp– I’m the one kneeling)
6) World Events. I try to stay informed about the world. My husband and I lie in bed at night and discuss our day and the world around us, and often those discussions will lead to story ideas. I vividly remember finishing my boxing workout at the gym and glancing up at the TV screen in the lobby, which was always on ESPN. It showed the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. What should have been a huge celebration day for so many dedicated runners turned into a bloody nightmare. On the way home, I couldn’t shake the notion from my mind, and a story idea emerged from the horror and chaos of that day.
7) History. I’m a HUGE history buff. I love to study all things historical, but particularly The Tudor period. Right now, my husband and I are watching Vikings, which is put out by the History Channel. I’m fascinated by the Viking code of honor that places such a high value on death. The clash between the Viking Norse gods and the English Christian god is also something that intrigues me. It gets my mind spinning on the motivations behind why people do some of the things they do.
Ragnar Lothbrok, the man, the myth, the legend
8) Travels. Deek and I have big plans to see the world. We want to become professional vagabonds one day–living in different places for six months at a time, experiencing different things. I’m Southern, and Deek is from the Pacific Northwest. Even within the same country, the differences between our two cultures is surprisingly vast.
We’ve managed to travel across the nation by train, plane, and automobile and have seen a good deal of this country, and we look forward to seeing other countries in the future. Each place we visit, and the people there, light up my mind!
To the Space Needle in Seattle
9) Shakespeare. I’m not even kidding. As an English major, I had to take two separate courses on Shakespeare: tragedies and comedies. For the tragedies class, we had a professor come from another college to teach it since our regular professor was on sabbatical. This substitute taught me so very much about the great Bard. He said Shakespeare spent a lot of time studying people to best understand their nature and motivations, and you can see compelling evidence in his works, particularly the tragedies. I try to be like Shakespeare and study human nature both through observation and engagement. If you talk to my friends, they’ll tell you I ask a lot of questions. I want to understand people and gauge their motivations. I also people watch. My dad and I used to play this game at the mall while my mom shopped. He’d point out some people, and we’d create a story about why they were there and what they were doing. Between my dad and the Bard, I’ve grown quite accustom to observing and assessing people.
My uber romantic husband *may* have memorized and said it to me!
10) My biggest inspiration–My husband, Deek Rhew. My husband inspires me in a thousand different ways. First of all, he’s the culmination of all the best characteristics of men in books, movies, and TV. The man is a complete and total dream come true! His writing also inspires me. The way he constructs a story, and the eloquence and humor with which he tells it, challenges me to be better. I love to read his work because I come away renewed. Moreover, our constant conversations (we joke that we talk all the time about everything and nothing) stimulate my mind to create new worlds and new characters. I’ve never met anyone so inspirational in all my life. He’s truly my muse–both in life and writing–and my Ideal Reader for my stories.
Thanks again for hosting me, Julia!! Let me tell you a little bit more about me, Deek, and our books!
The Prophecy (Fulfillment Series Book 1)
Growing up on a small farm in the kingdom of Vanguard, seventeen-year-old Layla Givens lives a deceptively tranquil existence. But her carefully constructed life quickly falls apart when she’s abducted by a religious zealot who proclaims her The Fulfillment of an ancient peace prophecy and whisks her away to marry her greatest enemy.
Wilhelm, Prince of the Ethereals, is reluctant to meet his new bride. He’s grown up believing Vanguards are evil, an enemy to fight and fear…not love. Can he set aside his prejudices and work alongside Layla to bring lasting peace after centuries of war?
Nash, a loner who has never fit in, carries a huge secret, one big enough to destroy both kingdoms. When he accidently meets Layla, he’s no longer content to live in the shadows, but he must resist his growing attraction–for her safety and for the longevity of the two kingdoms.
When Nash’s secret is revealed, a firestorm sweeps through both realms, with Layla at the center. Now she must choose between duty and desire while the fate of two nations hangs in the balance.
The Outlanders (Fulfillment Series Book 2)
The Fulfillment (Fulfillment Series Book 3)
About Erin Rhew
Erin Rhew is an editor, a running coach, and the author of The Fulfillment Series. Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word. She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the “Grammar Police.”
A Southern girl by blood and birth, Erin now lives in a rainy pocket of the Pacific Northwest with the amazingly talented (and totally handsome) writer Deek Rhew and their “overly fluffy,” patient-as-a-saint writing assistant, a tabby cat named Trinity. She and Deek enjoy reading aloud to one another, running, lifting, boxing, eating chocolate, and writing side-by-side.
Connect with Erin Online!
About Deek Rhew
Deek lives in a rainy pocket in the Pacific Northwest with the stunning YA author bride, Erin Rhew, and their writing assistant, a fat tabby named Trinity. They enjoy lingering in the mornings, and often late into the night, caught up Erin’s fantastic fantasy worlds of noble princes and knights and entwined in Deek’s dark underworld of the FBI and drug lords.
He and Erin love to share books by reading aloud to one another. In addition, they enjoy spending time with friends, running, boxing, lifting weights, and exploring the little town–with antique shops and bakeries–they call home.