April 9, 2009

Tricia Mills' Inspiration

Meet Tricia Mills, the author of HEARTBREAK RIVER, releasing this month from Razorbill. You can find her on a number of social networking sites, including MySpace. She also writes for Harlequin in addition to her work as a freelance journalist. She believes Buffy and Angel will one day find their happy ending, which I can totally get behind.

Book Cover

Fortunately, the people at Razorbill didn't change this awesome cover, unlike HOTTIE.


TV and Movies: How They Inspire My Writing
By Tricia Mills

I’ve been cracking up at the new Hulu commercials that make fun of TV rotting our brains. While I know that sitting in front of the tube for hours on end and channel surfing isn’t the way to enrich my brain, I don’t subscribe to the belief that TV is inherently a bad thing. In fact, I get a lot of inspiration from TV programs. Plots or characters will trigger something in my mind, and off my imagination goes.

For instance, in the summer of 2006, I went on a DVD binge on programs I’d not seen when they originally aired. I watched all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, all five of Angel and the first of Supernatural. The novel I wrote that fall isn’t a copy of any of those programs, but it was definitely inspired by all that viewing of paranormal programming.

Characters on shows can be the models for characters I create – physically, that is. I rip their photos out of magazines and put them up on a corkboard above my computer for inspiration as I’m writing their descriptions.

Sometimes it’s just a spark that comes from watching a certain show, and my own story goes off in a totally different direction. From watching Legend of the Seeker, I have an idea for a magical story percolating in my brain. And I have to admit that Craig Horner, who plays Richard Cypher (the Seeker), may appear as the inspiration for a hero at some point.

It’s not only TV characters and plots that inspire me, but also those of movies. For my second young adult novel, Ice and Desire (set to release in the summer of 2010), the two main guys in the book are modeled physically after Ben Barnes and William Moseley, who played Prince Caspian and Peter Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

Book Cover

Sometimes inspiration can even come from a sub-par show or movie and the thought that “I so would have written that differently.” That’s the cool thing – I can. :)

Book Cover

When you’re a writer, you don’t have to feel guilty about those hours you spend in front of the TV. After all, it’s research!


Yes, that's what I'm doing when I watch Chuck, Heroes, and Dollhouse. Research.

I need to watch Supernatural, don't I?


  1. Hey, I watch Heroes and Dollhouse (I bow at the altar of Joss Whedon). And YES, Supernatural is my absolute favorite show.

  2. Heck yes - pop culture IS research for all writers of YA! Never feel guilty for watching tv or the internet.

  3. Buffy and Angel?! No!!! Buffy and Spike! That's the first time I've ever seen that Hulu commercial and now I'm officially freaked out lol. Creepiness!

    Pop culture is a major thing in lit that I love so you're right, it is research!

  4. @Tricia: Isn't Dollhouse so much better now that FOX isn't interfering? And you should watch Chuck - it's just before Heroes and even better.

    I watched the first episodes of Supernatural, but they were very dark on my TV so I never got into it. Now I feel I should've because it sounds awesome.

    @Leigh: You need to send me your addy . . .

    @Ladytink_534: I think it's hilarious. I like the one with Eliza Dushku too.

  5. Hey Trish!

    You are everywhere this week, girlfriend! LOL

    Just had to pop by and comment on your Buffy/Angel happy ending comment.

    I'm one of those late to the game Buffy fans who didn't even discover the show until it was completely over...can you imagine I missed all that? Of course, the benefit was that I could buy all 7 seasons on DVD and watch them back to back with no stupid commercial interruption! Woot!

    I've been a fan for years now and just so happen to be slowly working my way back through the episodes. I watch one per night while I'm trying to rock my baby to sleep. I've become fully convinced that she can only go to sleep AFTER hearing the Buffy theme song. LOL

    Glad to know that you still believe in true love always finding a happy ending. I hated the way that they ended the Angel season 5 and always hoped that they'd hook up again before that show went off the air. Oh, well. We can still be dreamers, eh?

    Big hugs,

  6. Another person here for team Buffy and Spike! And yes, that Hulu commercial is a riot!


  7. I love TV, and it is very inspirational, especially with all the smart shows on these days. Heroes, Castle, Supernatural, LOST, Friday Night Lights...all great shows that can spike a writer's interest.


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