Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Reading, and Writing, and Everything Between the Lines

Shirley Kiger Connolly

As a mom with three grown children and some pretty awesome grandchildren, I’m also the wife of a former pastor and the daughter of a 1940s mystery writer. Outside of my love for the Lord, my family, my cats and dogs, and oh yes, my sweet chickens, I think book reading and writing are the loves of my life.

I'm always reading something, and if I'm not reading, I'm writing something. I don’t know anyone who goes through as many pens as I do in a given week. I've been playing around with pens, and turning the pages of a book from the moment I opened my first book of Dick and Jane.

Since my husband and I have stayed in the ministry in some capacity all our married lives, I've found another outlet -- this would be researching for my historical romances or in preparation for when I'm about to teach a women's Bible study or speak at a Women's Ministry Retreat.

Part of being an avid reader and writer for me might come from the fact that my husband and I (when we can afford to) are avid travelers and vagabonds, gypsies of a sort. We’ve lived and traveled through North Queensland, Australia to Grenada, and all over the West Indies down to California, up in Washington and all the way across the US to New York. What a great way to come up with a setting.

Reading and writing books of devotions also fills a portion of my time. I get my ideas from absolutely everywhere and am curious about where other writers come up with their concepts. There’s always something new we can learn about the Lord.

Whether it is in fiction or nonfiction, it's wonderful to see God's hand somewhere on the pages or between the lines.

As I consider my own reading and writing journeys, I can't help but wonder how others come up with their ideas about what's the perfect read for the day, or if they are writers, how they manage to come up with that brand new idea that will move their pens across the pages.

QUESTION OF THE DAY:: Ever read a book that inspired your fiction writing or taught you something new about the Lord. What was it? How were you inspired? What did you learn?

Shirley Kiger Connolly   “FROM THE HEART”
Creator: A Pen for Your Thoughts      Director: Koinonia Community
FLAME FROM WITHIN   VR Pub      I SEE GOD series  VR Pub
SECOND TIME PROMISE  releases Oct. 2013

Scorned with disgrace, Annabelle Jordan and her daughters are no longer welcome in her reverend uncle's community. In need of a fresh touch of grace, Annabelle's in no mood to seek mercy yet. Not after carrying on a youthful affair with that scoundrel of a boyfriend long enough to produce two daughters before she finally sent him away. 

Now without a home, Annabelle's convinced her answer is to find the man again and force that marriage he pledged but never kept. Annabelle knows he can provide her daughters the name, home, security, and future they need. Who else would show interest in a soiled, aging woman over thirty with two growing children? 

Clearly, that was before Major Carlton Radcliffe entered her life. How was Annabelle to know she'd fall for someone beyond her reach, loyal to the faith she's been fleeing and nobly pledged to a wife and family of his own?


  1. Hi Shirley. Thank you for visiting us today. Great post. My dad gave me a book from the 1800s which is journal of the author's scientific expeditions through South America. That triggered the initial thought for a historical novel. The lighthouse on the bluff where I walk triggered another historical novel. So I guess for me, my inspiration comes from different directions. I just have to be open and aware.

  2. Thanks for coming to visit, Shirley!

    I think my visits to England in my college years were big inspiration for my medieval romances, even though I didn't have a clue at the time that I would one day be a writer.

    Isn't God great? :)

  3. So last night middle child said he needed help with his geography assignment. He tends to like to do things on his own. For him to ask for help meant he really needed it.

    We ended up making a travel brochure of Portugal. He drew and colored a map of the country. Then before we called it a night, he suggested checking the homework sheet to see if he got everything done. Nope. Apparently all the info we included on the brochure had to be also written on a paper. In complete sentences. Plus a few questions wanted paragraph answers.


    The final question was, if you were to visit this country, what city or town most interests you.

    His response: None.
    My response: I'm going to google "best cities to visit in Portugal."

    Evora is what we chose. Why? Because it's a medieval town. And back in the 14th century, some gruesome things during the Inquisition happened there. So son wrote a few nice things about Evora. Then he put, "In other words, that's where lots of people were killed, so that's why I'd like to go visit it. Exactly."

    So when I read over Shirley's blog post, I thought about how Jadan had no interest in visiting Portugal, until he found one fascinating-to-him detail.

    Thanks, Shirley, for guest blogging today!

  4. Since I'm on the last leg of finishing my book for release come October, this is the first chance I've had to come by.
    Thanks to those of you who have already dropped in. I loved reading your answers.
    It is great to come up with settings and ideas and reasons why we do the things we do, isn't it.
    Happy writing and reading to you all. I'd love to come back again one day, and I hope to share you with my reading public over at A Pen for Your Thoughts.

    Shirley Kiger Connolly

  5. Hi, Shirley! During one of our stints through the 1600s the kids and I read a book about King James I. The book challenged quite a bit of what I thought I knew about the monarch, so I did some more research, which led to a story revolving around the attempted annihilation of the MacGregor's.

    I'm always inspired by scripture.

  6. Hi Shirley, enjoyed your post. I traveled a lot too, while growing up, but not nearly as much as you. I like to draw on life experiences for my stories. If you've traveled around a bit, there's lots more material to use. I love to read and the best books are those that show through a beautifully written tale, how best to live our lives. One such story that touched my heart is "Because of You" by Fay Lamb. The message of forgiveness is deeply layered in the story and long after I put it down, it still resonates.

  7. Jaclyn V. Di BonaMay 16, 2013 at 2:21 PM


    My first 18 years were spent in Gloucester, Ma. I loved the springs, summers and falls. But the winters were miserable. I decided my next book titled: The Whims of Fate should take place in my old hometown. Fond memories still linger.

    I had fun intermingling my vivid imagination tied up with Gloucester. I decided to mix in a little suspense with the DEA and an antique dealer just to thicken the polt.

    It's funny when an idea catches on and the words just to flow.

    Jaclyn Di Bona

  8. Just saw this article.
    Great ways for inspiration. I sometimes get mine from when I go for walks and things just come to mind, but also when I'm traveling. We don't travel far but there's always something in the air. thanks
    Janice Ian

  9. Shirley,

    Great post. Inspiration for our novels sometimes comes from the least expected places!

  10. Thanks for writing in, Suzie. Your journal sounds so interesting. I LOVE stuff like that for research! I hope to someday write a book with a lighthouse in there somewhere myself.
    Thanks again

  11. Thanks for writing in DeAnna. Most of the historicals I read are set in England. I love almost all of them.
    Appreciate your coming by

  12. Oh, Christina, I couldn't agree more. You can find wonderful subject matter just through reading God's Word. I like to add scripture at the beginning of many of the chapters in my stories to give a hint as to what the chapter will involve.
    thanks so much for writing.

  13. Hi Betty
    Fay's book sounds good. I'm going to have to add it to my TBR list. Thanks for the tip.
    thanks so much for coming by

  14. Jaclyn. Good to hear from you. I would love to visit Gloucester . It sounds like a beautiful place! I really appreciate your coming by.

  15. Oh, Marcy, that is so true. And those least expected places can turn up the greatest stories.
    thanks so much for writing in.

  16. Hi Janice
    You are so right. There's always something around that we can draw from. We really don't have to go far at all.
    thanks for writing in


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