“What Inspires Me? Bad Girls.”
Looking for inspiration? Consider history. Don't worry, I'm not talking about that boring list of dates that you had to memorize in junior high. I'm talking about history as it was lived by real people who did amazing, ridiculous, dangerous and devilish things.
I like writing about historical bad girls. My first novel, The Blood Confession, is inspired by Countess Bathory, who (according to legend) believed that bathing in virgin's blood would keep her eternally young and beautiful. My second novel, The King's Rose, is about Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of King Henry VIII, who cheated on King Henry with one of his servants. These are two very different women, of course, but when I came across their stories I had a similar response: “What in the world were you thinking?” The fact that I couldn't easily answer that question was what intrigued me most. I wondered how they would explain their actions, if they were given the chance. While I certainly don't agree with what they did, my task was to create reasons that would seem believable, while not entirely releasing them from blame.
Do I worry that a historical character I would like to write about might be snatched up by some other author? Yes, I fear this all the time. The thought wakes me up at night. That said, every story can be told in a myriad of different ways: different voices, different approaches to the character and their context. Everyone writer has their own voice, their unique perspective. No one can tell this particular story in the same way that you can.