Cynthia Hamilton


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Cynthia Hamilton

The Story Behind the Story: Alligators in the Trees

The fun thing about being an author is not knowing when or where inspiration will strike. For anyone who’s decided they wanted to write a book and gone as far as sitting in front of their computer with absolutely no idea what to say, I’m sure you can appreciate the caprices of creativity. It likes to sneak up when you least expect it and usually when you’re least prepared to grab it by the horns.

The premise for “Alligators in the Trees” came to me in an idle musing and slowly developed over a few weeks’ time. It started while listening to a song from the ‘70s. Besides holding up remarkably well, the lyrics got me to thinking about the band, particularly the singer. “Give her some funked up music, she treats you nice…” Personal observation? I thought so. I then pictured the scene he was describing—the life of a rock star, pre or post stardom? Had success changed him and his partner? What was his life like outside the glare of public scrutiny?

Instead of being a fleeting thought, musings about this musician stuck around in my head, popping up at random moments to offer additional insights or speculations. Then one day when my husband and I were having lunch at a roadside diner, I became intrigued by our waitress. I can’t say what about her caught my interest, but there was something about her that made me wonder what her life looked like, outside of her job.

Strangely, those dual musings somehow meshed in my head, and before I knew what was happening, the two characters from very different backgrounds were bouncing off each other. They were as different as snow and sand, and aside from speaking the same language, they had almost nothing in common. Well, that’s not entirely true. Both possessed a remarkable talent for writing lyrics, though Priscilla had never shared hers with anyone. And though Tobias Jordan figured his half-hearted disguise concealed his identity, Priscilla knew immediately who she was serving two poached eggs on dry wheat toast to—someone responsible for lyrics that had struck deep chords in her psyche.

Okay…so now I have two people loitering in my head. By this point, they were too vivid to dismiss. They had my attention and I had to take the scenario further, find out what would come of such an interaction.

But there was something missing. I needed another dynamic, something to save the story from being some quirky kind of romance novel. Then one night while out to dinner, we ran into an acquaintance, a talented architect with his head in the clouds and a dreamy expression on his face. As we stood there talking to him, it hit me I had the third element my story needed. A once famous—now infamous—architect, a bad-boy ‘90s rock star in need of a comeback, and a coffee shop waitress who puzzles out life’s conundrums in spiral-bound notebooks that no one’s ever seen.

From this vantage point, it seems so unlikely that anything could come from such meager musings. Yet, once I typed out the first sentence, the story was up and running and couldn’t be stopped. I honestly didn’t know where I was going, so I just surrendered the reins to the three stars of the show and followed them individually and as their lives became tangled together. It was a fun book to write, mainly because I stayed out of the way and let the characters call the shots.

As today is the official first day of summer, I decided to kick it off with a fun summer read, available today and tomorrow—the 21st and 22nd—for free downloading on Amazon. Grab your ereader and check out “Alligators in the Trees” and let me know what you think!

Wishing everyone a fun, relaxing summer with an endless supply of great reads!

Until next time,

Very warmest regards,