Marcia Meara – Finding Hunter

This week, it’s my pleasure to host another of my favorite authors, Marcia Meara.


In this post, Marcia answers the question:

What If?

Have you ever been reading a book, transported to a place you’ve never imagined, or an event you’ve never even heard of, and found yourself wondering how in the world the author ever came up with the idea?

Happens to me a lot, especially in recent years, when I’ve been reading a lot of Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, and Steampunk. I find myself in awe of writers who can invent entire worlds, cultures, political factions, and people-creature hybrids that have certainly never existed here on earth. How did they think of such places and creatures? And how much painstaking effort must have gone into laying out the fabric of these imaginary worlds and cultures, including setting up the political and social structures within these invented realms, and creating the rules by which their creatures live and function.

I also marvel at writers of more traditional fiction—murder mysteries, love stories, and the like—wondering how they’ve managed to put a fresh spin on their tale, whether through unusual locations, events, or truly engaging characters.

Here’s what I do when the seed of an idea comes to me. I ask myself, “What if?”

For instance, the idea for my first book, Wake-Robin Ridge, was born more than fifteen years ago, when I was on a trip to Chimney Rock, North Carolina, with a group of friends. In our travels along the backroads, we would often pass this little, deserted log cabin, and I wondered who had lived there over the years, and what kind of stories they could tell. One day, I asked myself what if there were two women who had lived in that remote cabin, fifty years apart. What if the first one was hiding there from an abusive husband? What if he found her, and something really bad happened? What if the second woman begins to uncover the first woman’s story? What if there’s a mysterious recluse living across the road from her, and he gets involved in the mystery? My story grew from those questions.

I wanted to set my second novel in Florida, so I could feature the rivers and wildlife I’ve explored for years, and love deeply. I wanted it to be a romantic suspense, with plenty of danger, so I asked my questions again. What if a serial killer is preying on young women in the area? What if his crimes are truly awful, and his way of disposing of his handiwork, even more so? I didn’t know who my lovers were, but one day, while out on my favorite eco-tour boat cruise, I happened to catch myself thinking what a wonderful job piloting that boat would be. And then…the lightbulb went off! What if my heroine had her own eco-tour boat, and what if the hero were a wildlife photographer who needed her help? Voila! Swamp Ghosts was born.

My third book idea came to me in a dream, believe it or not. I was half asleep when I heard Sarah Gray, my heroine from Wake-Robin Ridge, whisper in my ear about a little boy alone in the mountains, who needed his story told. I got up in the morning with Rabbit fully formed in my mind, and started writing. But again, I had to figure out why he was alone on the mountain, so I started jotting down questions. What if his grandparents had hidden him away from the world? What if he’s never seen another person in his life? What if he has no concept of electricity, or running water, or even music? Eventually, his story, A Boy Named Rabbit, looped through Sarah’s and Mac’s, giving my mountain series a whole new direction, and continuing the little touch of paranormal, as well.

My latest novel was simply the natural progression from Swamp Ghosts. I had introduced two secondary characters that I really liked, and I knew they had a story I wanted to tell, but you can only have so many serial killers in one small town, so it had to involve another kind of drama. In Swamp Ghosts, Hunter Painter confesses to Gunnar Wolfe that he has secretly loved Willow Greene since high school. What if Willow has loved him back the whole time, and he never knew it? What if the reason Hunter is so odd is because of deep-seated fears he developed within his strange family dynamic? What if his well-meaning, loving family had become totally dysfunctional, through nothing worse than poor choices and refusing to acknowledge facts? What if this constant denial over the years ended up causing a terrible tragedy, impacting everyone concerned? What if my heroine is the strongest female character I’ve ever written, and my hero is a sweet-natured, but emotionally battered man, in dire need of her help? And there you have the premise for Finding Hunter.

And my current work in progress, Harbinger, has taken me back to my beloved mountains. I love that the Appalachians are filled with ancient legends and tales of ghostly happenings. What if I picked one to work into my story? The legend of The Black Dog, or Ol’ Shuck, as they call him in that part of the world, is probably Celtic in origin, and quite chilling. Ol’ Shuck is a pretty scary apparition, and if you see him, it means someone is going to die. What if I could work that into the current dynamics of the Cole family, introduced in Wake-Robin Ridge, and expanded on in A Boy Named Rabbit? That’s what I’m aiming for, and I hope to have Harbinger ready for release by spring.

The Wake-Robin Ridge tales are all slightly paranormal . . . just a touch of spooky, here and there. The Riverbend stories deal with the eccentric, funny, and sometimes tragic characters who live in the little Florida town. Plenty of drama there, with nary a hint of the paranormal.

And they’ve all come about because I learned how to ask, “What if?” I open a document, and just let the what-if’s flow, and before long, I can see a pattern that might make a good story.  It works for me, and maybe some of you will find it a helpful, more organic way to approach writing.

Thanks for having me here today, Evelyn. I always enjoy visiting with you and your readers, and I hope some of you will try asking yourself “What if?”

Wake-Robin Ridge Series

  Wake-Robin Ridge:

  A Boy Named Rabbit (Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2):

Riverbend Series

  Swamp Ghosts (Riverbend Book 1):

  Finding Hunter (Riverbend Book 2):

Summer Magic:

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Social Media Links:

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The Write Stuff (Writers Helping Writers):

Twitter: @marciameara

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Finding Hunter_kindle cover2

My review of Finding Hunter

The characters who populate the small town of River Bend, come to life in this story about the power of love from the inspired imagination of talented author, Marcia Meara. A truly wonderful novel, this story features two minor characters from Ms. Meara’s previous novel, Swamp Ghosts.  Hunter, an introverted, hapless, but troubled writer who carries a load of family problems on his shoulders, and has no idea of the talent he possesses. And Willow, the selfless, caring extrovert, who adores him, and tries her best to point out how valuable his life is.

This story is rather unusual, as it’s the reverse of the standard romance novel. It begins with the romance, expertly written by the way, and works up to the events that threaten to end it forever.

The short poems at the beginning of each chapter add a bit of suspense to the story, as you can’t help but wonder who “The Traveler” is. But everything is revealed in the end. The story pulled me in from the very first page, and kept me reading well into the night. I highly recommend this novel.

Marcia has agreed to do a book giveaway for, Finding Hunter. Leave a comment and you will be entered to win a signed print or eBook copy of this wonderful novel.


About Evelyn Cullet

I write mystery romance and romantic suspense novels. I'm an avid organic gardener, and I play the piano. I have a spoiled Black Lab mix., Bailey, whom I adore. Visit my blog every Monday to discover new authors and their novels at:
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17 Responses to Marcia Meara – Finding Hunter

  1. Fascinating post. It’s always interesting to see how other writers come by their ideas. I’m a great believer in the What If scenario and that’s how many of my stories started too… They all sound amazing.

    • Marcia Meara says:

      Hi, Olga! Nice to see you here. Yay, another What-If-Er! 🙂 It just feels better to me not to put my thoughts into a rigid outline. (My thoughts are definitely pretty freeform!) It’s sort of a stream of consciousness kind of thing, I guess, and I find ideas showing up on the paper almost out of nowhere.

      Glad you think the books sound amazing. They are simply meant to entertain, and along the way, touch people’s hearts, perhaps. Nothing so grand as being “literary,” but hopefully fun and/or shivery at times.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment today. Have a great week.

  2. Juana G says:

    Hi! I really enjoyed reading this post about the process of writing. I’m new to the blogosphere and fiction writing (blogging for a year with a sprinkle of fiction here and there), and I’m likewise fascinated by authors who create entire worlds or put a new spin on an “old” tale.

    I loved that asking the question “What if” can produce so many different pieces to a character and plot. It was also neat to read about the character of Rabbit coming in a dream – I love stories like that. 🙂

    • Marcia Meara says:

      Hi, Juana,
      So glad you enjoyed the post. I’m not good about making up formal outlines for plots, and I’d never stick to one, anyway. But asking “what if” is more like brainstorming with only one brain…my own. Haha. It gets my imagination going, and I start throwing more and more what-if’s into the mix. It works for me, and I hope it will for you, as well, as you begin to create more fiction, yourself. And oh, that Little Rabbit. That boy showed up in my head that night, and he’s never left. He talks to me ALL the time! 😀 Glad you enjoyed that, as well. Thanks for commenting today.

  3. Debby Gies says:

    So lovely to see YOU being interviewed Marcia! Well done my friends, and shared around the circuit! xo

    • Marcia Meara says:

      Thank you, Deb. I always enjoy stopping by other blogs to make new friends, and say hi to old ones, too. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, and for sharing. I appreciate it! Hope your day has gone well!

  4. Marja McGraw says:

    These sound like fascinating books, Marcia. They’re definitely going on my TBR list, which I hope I can get to soon. Thank you for sharing your “What ifs”.

    • Marcia Meara says:

      Thank you so much, Marja. I’m glad they sound interesting to you, and I hope if you find time to read them some day, you’ll enjoy them. I’ve loved writing every word of each book, and am looking forward to continuing both series for a long time to come. And thanks for taking the time to comment. Nice to “meet” you.

  5. Rosie Amber says:

    I have enjoyed reading several of Marcia’s books and fell in love with Swamp Ghosts and I want to adopt Rabbit, so looking forward to reading Finding Hunter.

    • Marcia Meara says:

      You’ll have to get in line to adopt Rabbit, Rosie. I saw him first! Hahaha. And I’m already fighting off all my beta readers who think they should have him, too. 😉 I hope you’ll enjoy Finding Hunter, when you have a chance to read it. Be forewarned. It is nothing like Swamp Ghosts, except for some overlapping characters, and the town it’s set in. There are 6,000 people living in Riverbend, and only so many deranged serial killers to go around. Ha! But every one of the 6,000 has a unique story to tell, and Hunter’s is one that really spoke to me. Damaged souls always do. Can’t wait to see what you think, says she, nervously. 😀

  6. Oh, what can I say but that I can’t wait to read the books in this series? Thanks for hosting Marcia on your blog today!

  7. Pingback: My Guest Post on Evelyn Cullet’s Blog: What If? | The Write Stuff

  8. Thank you for being a guest author on my blog this week, Marcia. It’s always a pleasure to host you and your wonderful novels.

    • Marcia Meara says:

      Thank you so much for having me today, Evelyn. It’s always a pleasure to be part of your wonderful blog, and to have a chance to chat with your followers. (Remember to leave a comment folks, in order to win a copy of Finding Hunter.)

      I hope my method of developing a story will work for those who don’t utilize a full-on outline for their plots. While I’m mostly organic in my writing style, it definitely helps me to have a pretty good idea of where I want my stories to go. Thanks for letting me share!

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