Okay Top Shelfers…Top Shelfians.. er.. People of The Top Shelf? What should we call ourselves? Anyway, this whole day has been really odd for me. Amazon dropped off some fringe science books I didn’t order and then basically told me to keep them after I spent a bit on the phone with customer service. Now that’s all sorted, I can present this awesome blog from David K. Hulegaard! Be sure to read all the way to the end! He gave us a present! 🙂
As a writer, one of the things that I routinely get asked about is where I come up with the ideas for my stories. Because there is no quick way to answer that, I will usually answer with either a joking response, or a generic reply about how the world around us is ripe with inspiration. The latter is not untrue, but it is lacking a fair response to an honest question. So with my guest post today, I am going to remove the cork from my top secret formula and tell you, the reader, exactly how I come up with the ideas that fuel my books.
I sleep. There it is. Phew! It feels so good to finally get that weight off of my shoulders! It probably wasn’t the answer you were expecting though, right? I mean, it’s not the most glorious answer, but it is completely true. Allow me to tell you a story:
About five years ago, I bought a bed without doing any research what-so-ever. I just took the one that felt the most comfortable to lie on at the store. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Well, apparently that’s not how one should go about shopping for a bed. There are these rules now for mattresses. It has to factor in what type of sleeper you are, what level of firmness you prefer, and then something about people jumping up and down on it without knocking over a wine glass while you sleep? I don’t know. I kind of stopped paying attention at a certain point.
Long story short, I wasn’t giving my body the level of comfort required to get a full night’s rest. Unbeknownst to me, it doesn’t matter what your cumulative hours slept is, because that number is worthless unless you can get them uninterrupted. By sleeping on a bed that didn’t match my individual sleep style, I was waking up every couple of hours, and breaking up the sleep cycle before it could get to the really good part. I guess that’s what allows you to actually rest, and not just sleep. Did I just confuse you? No? Good, then maybe you can explain it to me.
Fast forward a couple of years later and I meet, like, the best bed salesman on the planet. He’s explaining to me everything I just said, but in greater detail, and possibly even with graphs and pie charts—I can’t recall precisely. He asked me a series of questions about how I sleep, and after I answered them, he walked me over to a new Vera Wang brand mattress set. Oh yeah, you thought she just made really expensive wedding dresses, right? Well, she also makes really expensive mattress sets. Mind = blown.
Luck would be on my side, however, because it just so happened that the mattress was on sale, as they almost always are whenever you’re flashing plastic, and I got the mattress for a fraction of the cost. The salesman assured me that I’d finally get the sleep that my body so richly needed, and not to be surprised if I started having “weird” dreams. Save the jokes, this is a family blog.
Within days, the salesman’s premonition came true. I was experiencing some of the most bizarre visions dancing around in my head at night. Of course not all of them were salvageable, but for the ones that showed promise, I’d jot them down in my journal and come back to them on a rainy day to see if there was anything I could fashion from it. My upcoming book, The Jumper, is the first piece of fruit born from my Vera Wang mattress.
It’s about a middle-aged man named R.C. Dawson that is forced out of retirement to go work at a haunted community center for young children. R.C. doesn’t believe in ghosts, but he’s soon converted after he comes face-to-face with the spirit of a teenage boy they call ‘The Jumper.’ I still remember waking up the next day after I had that dream, and I started writing down as much as I could remember before I lost it forever… after insuring that I didn’t require a change of shorts first.
Since that night, I have had many more interesting dreams that have lent themselves perfectly to my particular writing style. My “project” pile is now overflowing, and to think that I owe it all to a good night’s sleep, and a ridiculously comfortable Vera Wang mattress. Before I go, I’d just like to say thank you so much for reading my guest post on The Top Shelf, and also to send a very special thank you to Misty for having me.
As a small token of my appreciation, please accept this free download of a short story prequel that I’ve written to accompany my upcoming book, The Jumper. It’s called The Night Shift, and it will provide an introduction to one of the book’s supporting characters, Craig Dixon. In the events that take place before The Jumper, Craig held the position of Night Custodian at the Emily Glavine Community Youth Center… but for only one night. This short story takes place on that fateful night and reveals the tale that Craig refused to ever tell. Are you brave enough to read along and experience the community center’s darkest secret through Craig’s eyes?
David K. Hulegaard is an author and student of film and music. From an early age, he was encouraged by his parents to read a little bit each day, and developed an extensive imagination while burying his nose into a mixture of R.L. Stine books and literary classics.
With an established professional background in the real world of category management, consultation, and marketing, he felt unable to quench the thirst for creativity he’d been harboring for years. This led to the release of his debut novel Noble in October 2010.
Hailing from the postcard-perfect Pacific Northwest, where he currently lives with his fiance, there is never a shortage of inspiration. Citing a variety of influences, he loves to dabble within many different genres and settings to tell a story.
Synopsis: In the fall of 1947, Jane Emmett went missing from the small Northeastern town of Ashley Falls. Jane was a rebellious youth who was no stranger to trouble, and her diminished presence around town was not considered by the locals to be anything more than a punishment. When disturbing entries from a hidden journal are discovered by Jane’s best friend, reluctant private investigator Miller Brinkman can no longer ignore the situation and enters the fray, officially declaring Jane Emmett a missing person.
However, what starts out as a missing persons case soon evolves into a sinister puzzle that reaches far beyond the town limits of Ashley Falls. Miller’s investigation will take him down a path of unexpected twists and turns as he attempts to find Jane Emmett and bring her back home. Standing in his way are corruption, a government cover-up, and a global conspiracy that will shake the very fabric of life as he knows it.
How far will Miller go to uncover the truth behind the abduction of Jane Emmett… and will he be prepared for the answers that he seeks?
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