Finding Inspiration

Posted by Mona Risk | 2:32 PM | 19 comments »

Please welcome Stephanie Burkhart to the Pink Fuzzy Slippers blog.

I'd like to thank Mona and the Ladies at Pink Fuzzy Slippers for having me here today. My latest release is "First Flag of New Hampshire," a YA mystery published by 4RV Publishing. (Okay, it's not quite a romance, but I'd like to think the YA/Mystery/Romance genres cross over well.)
Finding inspiration can be challenging at times – especially for me. I'm a working full time mom with two young boys who not only have copious amounts of homework, but also have several extra curricular activities. Trust me, I'm pooped at the end of the day. When my head hits the pillow, I'm out. Not one single dream between the time I pass out to the time my alarm goes off.
Inspiration does not come from my dreams. So where does it come from?

Surprisingly from a show, a book, a movie, a "what-if" idea that I've expanded on. It comes from childhood memories of watching "Creature Double Feature" on Saturday afternoons as a young girl in the 1970's or from wanting to write my own gothic fiction like Victoria Holt. Or wanting to play with vampires and creatures of the night like Anne Rice. Or in "First Flag of New Hamsphire's" case – my Junior High School English/History Class.

In 1985, I was a Junior in high school on the fast track to college. Being on the "fast" track meant taking "American Studies." It was a 2 period long class that combined American Literature and American History. We had two teachers – Mr. Lord and Mrs. Hussey. It was a demanding class that challenged me to go outside my comfort zone and let me tell you, it's pretty nerve wracking to go outside one's comfort zone as a 17 year old. I learned about Cotton Mather, Nathanial Hawthorne and read Moby Dick.

I took part in historical simulations role playing characters from history. If my class had it's druthers, we would not have declared war on England in 1776. We went on field trips – the most memorable was the field trip to Newport, Rhode Island. Mr. Lord and Mrs. Hussey said at the start of the school year this would be a class that would resonate with us for the rest of our lives. I poo-poo'd the notion. Little did I know that 20 years later when I wanted to write a young adult mystery did I draw on the class for inspiration.  Alyssa and Miguel are two classmates in American Studies called to solve the mystery of the first flag of New Hampshire. It's a race against time, and their classmates, to find the answer.

My question for you is where do you find inspiration? I'd love to hear your answers.

Alyssa has to take American Studies for college prep, and she hurries to the first class. She’s paired with classmate Miguel De Soto to find the first flag of New Hampshire, but the flag has flown only four times in New Hampshire’s past. Can Alyssa and Miguel track the flag through history before time is up?

Hunt For the Flag Giveaway: Answer the following questions about New Hampshire. I’ll pick a winner to receive a Spring book bag (made by my talented friend, Lori Powell), full of goodies to include a GC to Starbucks, chocolates, a magnet and more.

New Hampshire was what state to ratify the US Constitution?
BONUS: What state landmark collapsed in 2003?



Find me on the Web at:

Thank you, Steph, for visiting with us at the PFS.


  1. Judy // April 18, 2012 at 8:15 AM  

    Welcome to the Pink Fuzzies! What a unique idea for a story - combining history and mystery for a fun YA! Good luck with it! Like you, inspiration for my books comes from many sources. Interesting to think back on it.

  2. StephB // April 18, 2012 at 8:16 AM  

    Judy, good morning! It's funny the sources of inspiration, isn't it? Sometimes it's places we don't expect.

    Again, thanks to the ladies for having me here. I'm on a training at work so I'll be in and out today checking comments on breaks from my cell phone.


  3. Mona Risk // April 18, 2012 at 8:25 AM  

    Hello Steph, We are always happy to see you here. I love the book cover great colors.

  4. Autumn Jordon // April 18, 2012 at 9:01 AM  

    LOL. So you did learn something in school. A lesson for all youngin's to learn.

    I confess I haven't read a YA as an adult, yet, but I think I'll start now.

    Congrats on your new release!

  5. StephB // April 18, 2012 at 9:57 AM  

    Mona I love the colors too. Ginger did a wonderful job with her illustrations.

  6. StephB // April 18, 2012 at 10:01 AM  

    Autumn shshsh don't tell anyone. I find myself reading the Percy Jackson series along with my son who is ten. It's a fun series and it really stimulates his imagination. I find romance and YA cross over well.

  7. Beth Trissel // April 18, 2012 at 10:52 AM  

    Hello Stephanie. Welcome to the Fuzzies. So glad to have you with us and to learn more about you. Nostalgia is indeed quite a source of inspiration. Your history/mystery YA combo sounds like a very enjoyable read. I really like the cover too. I'm flirting with doing a YA. Maybe you will inspire me. I'm interested to read yours and see what you've done.

  8. Mary Marvella // April 18, 2012 at 1:34 PM  

    Welcome, Stephanie, ideas come from a lot of places for me, also. Another book, a movie or just out of the blue with "What if a man, woman, or child XXXXX." Good blog!

  9. Mary Marvella // April 18, 2012 at 1:36 PM  

    And I love kid and teen books. I never grew up! When I read books to my daughter, I would finish them after she feel asleep.

  10. Keena Kincaid // April 18, 2012 at 2:44 PM  

    Your book sounds fun and I love the cover. I don't read YA either, but like several other women here, I might have to start.

  11. Nightingale // April 18, 2012 at 4:18 PM  

    I'll add my welcome to the Fuzzies as well. Enjoyed your post and your book trailer. Wishing you many sales!

  12. Celia Yeary // April 18, 2012 at 4:39 PM  

    Very interesting, Steph. Were your teachers' names really Mr.Lord and Mrs. Hussey? They sound like made-up names for a novel!
    It amazes me that your mind can go from romance to paranormal to children to YA. How do you do that? My brain goes on one track. Keep up your wonderful work--no need to slow down as long as you can seemingly pick stories out of the air. Way to go, Miss Steph.

  13. Mona Risk // April 18, 2012 at 9:24 PM  

    Thank you Steph for this lovely post. I can't wait to read your YA. I've read your children book and loved it.

  14. StephB // April 18, 2012 at 10:14 PM  

    Ladies, thank you so much for being patient with me. Training is over and I'm back home. I am a 911 dispatcher for LAPD and every year we need 24 hours POST training to stay certified so today's class was on ethics. Very interesting.

    Beth I love exploring histories mysteries. I think they have a show on PBS called History Detectives. I love that show it really opens up a lot of inspiration for me.

    Mary, hehe. Nothing wrong with not growing up. I find I'm really enjoying the Percy Jackson series as I read them along with my son.

    Keena, it's great to see you. The cover is really appealing. Ginger did a wonderful job.

    Thank you, Nightgale. :)

    Celia, yes, those were the names. In the story, the names are changed. LOL. You know I lucked into the childrens/YA writing and as long as the story feels right I'm game to explore.

    Mona, I'm so glad you enjoyed my childrens story. I enjoy your stories as well and I'm looking forward to reading Greek Encounter.


  15. Anonymous // April 19, 2012 at 1:07 PM  

    #9 and the old man of the mountain. Google to the rescue. I get ideas from all sorts of places. And yes, dreams sometimes are included, conversations with friends, the odd things my single daughter gets into and of course history. Thanks for visiting the Fuzzies today. Enjoyed your post and look forward to reading your work.


  16. Pamela Varnado // April 19, 2012 at 2:45 PM  

    Welcome. I can totally relate to being pooped at the end of the day. I have two grandsons that zap my energy just by saying my name. But I love them anyway. Like you, I travel back to my childhood for inspiration. Life was less hectic. I could daydream, which I did often. Now, I turn all those dreams into romance and suspense stories.

  17. Mary Ricksen // April 19, 2012 at 7:39 PM  

    Welcome Stephanie you are fabulous!

  18. StephB // April 20, 2012 at 4:13 PM  

    Melba, thank you for answering the NH questions. Send me an email at: or and I'll make arrangements to send you my giveaway.

    Pamela, thanks for the welcome. You make a good point - childhood was less hectic and all though I bunch of "bad" times (with my parents divorce) it's the good times that I remember vividly.

    Mary, thanks for the welcome. I had a blast visiting with you all.


  19. Josie // April 20, 2012 at 10:52 PM  

    Welcome, Stephanie, to the Pink Fuzzies. The cover of your book is so colorful and different, and the premise is excellent.

    Sincere congrats.