Sunday, October 21, 2012

Passion in Your Writing

How does passion fit into your writing, be it birds, wildlife conservation, baseball, opera, peanut butter, running Marathons, Egyptology, cooking, or cycling? In a recent presentation I gave about my nonfiction book, The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert Porter Allen Story, I was asked, "why whooping crane?" A good question, but one that gave me pause. Why did I spend six years writing a book about a giant bird that migrates from Canada to Texas? Why was I mesmerized by my first sighting of a family of whoopers feeding in the shallows on the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge twenty years ago? And why was I so compelled to tell Bob Allen's story?
Released on 9/16 by
University Press of Florida

I also began pondering the writing of my Sydney Lockhart mysteries and noticed bits and pieces of things I'm passionate about show up in my fiction as well. I realized that childhood experiences, exploring the woods around my grandparents' farm, watching baseball with my dad on the old black and white TV, eating peanut butter out of the jar, helping my mom bake kolaches, riding my bike all over creation, led to my passions as an adult. Opera, running, and Egyptology? well, I'm not sure where those came from, but they keep life interesting.

Here's something to think about: everyone is passionate about something, but not everyone writes about it. What are your thoughts?


  1. Sometimes I'm surprised how what unconsciously I feel so much about gets into my writing without my knowing about it at the time. Case in point is my romantic suspense, Killer Career, about a lawyer who changes careers. I wrote that while trapped in my dead-end legal secretary job. Now I'm free and retired!

    Morgan Mandel

  2. And discovering new passions, I'm sure.

  3. I feel as if there's more fear than passion in my writing. But scaring myself does glue me to the page...maybe that's what I'm passionate about, that inability to veer away.

    Interesting question.

  4. And that was an interesting answer, Jenny. Now I really can't wait to read Cover of Snow!

  5. I think, for most of us, writers tend to put something of themselves into their books. After all, we know the most about what we do and think. Angel Sometimes has a lot of me in it since I gave Angel the same job I had in college.