Inspiration for My Writing

Leo Babauta wrote a blog: 31-ways-to-find-inspiration-for-your-writing

I agree with most of these as parts of my inspiration to write.  I began writing short stories, then attempted thriller/mystery novels during the past three years. My dog Molly and I had been traveling around the US for over four years, north to south, east to west. The only states I have not been to in my seventy-one years is Alaska and Maine. Maine is a goal of mine.

The travel has given me the opportunity to meet people from around the country and a few from Europe. These experiences have provided fodder for a number of my story ideas. Especially for the locales where I lived for more than a few weeks. I also found ideas and many venues for my stories while traveling a couple of times in Europe.

 Murder on the Wine Train came to mind after I enjoyed dining and traveling on the Napa Valley Wine Train. I was influenced when I started a webpage where I shared my travel experiences with friends. Their feedback was helpful by hearing the comments and questions about my experiences.

People watching was a fun part of my travel experiences, as was reading a variety of novels and short stories in several genres. 

Another big influence came to me through my friend, K.L. Franklin and her book: ‪Random Thoughts, Snippets, and Other Things

Murder on the Wine Train is now available on


Author Interview with WLC

Welcome to the World Literary Cafe Author Spotlight

Featuring: Author Bruce Jensen

Interview by Wendy L. Young

Welcome to the WLC Author Spotlight! Bruce Jensen here today to chat about how his varied life and travels have influenced his writing. Welcome, Bruce! Let’s get started!

First, tell me more about these travels and what you enjoy doing outside of writing.

I have spent the last few summers working at several camping areas, mostly as a volunteer for Forest Service, BLM and Corps of Engineers. This has given me the opportunity to meet people from around the country and a few from Europe. My loyal black lab, Molly and I got to visit different parts of the western US. She is always wanting my attention. I also volunteer at the local VA Hospital a couple of days a week. For enjoyment beyond this I love to cook, enjoy fine wine, and eat exceptionally prepared meals.

You have traveled a lot. Does that make you want to go further, or is the US enough?

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?

The US is such a great place to be, why would I choose another?  Even though I have been to all of two states in the country, there are many parts where I would love to experience again and new places to explore. I was born and raised in California. After a tour in the Navy I entered the foodservice field. This provided me the opportunity to travel to different parts of the country. I eventually started my own consulting business with travel to a variety of US cities.

Unlike the protagonist in the books, I spent many years traveling around the US as a consultant. My experiences in the different locations have given me many venues to use in my stories. I used my experience in Napa Valley and dining on the wine train as the basis for my first eBook. I also lived in San Diego for a couple of years and my visit last year inspired my second book, Whale of a Murder.

My interactions with numerous people provide inspiration for the different characters in the stories. My personal life has had many highs and lows with relationship issues. This also influences my writing.

If I had a second choice it would be Italy. I love the food, the art, the people as well as the rich countryside.

I don’t think you could go wrong in either place!


Who do you write for? Who is your ideal reader?

At first I wrote about my experiences as I traveled around the US. I shared these journal entries with family and friends. Then I was inspired to translate my experiences into fiction. Primarily for my benefit.

Now I write for those who read my work. I hope they are happy that they read my work and are encouraged to read more. I assume that the readers are adult men and women who like mysteries coupled with a little romance.

Aside from your travels, what inspires you to write?

I have read many books over the years and thought I could do that. When I was traveling I had a blog of my activities I shared with my family and friends. These short eBooks are inspirations from my notes from the novel and my experiences. I incorporate my past experiences and relationships with the situations and characters into my stories. My developing story themes touch on our human frailties and faults. I found that my thoughts and character development as very cathartic. Forgiveness plays a significant part of my growth. Writing has been the best therapy and I have never been happier or more fulfilled! My goal is to share my stories with the public and hopefully provide them some pleasure in reading them. I embellish a significant amount, though.

I think we all do, right? smiley That’s not a bad thing!

Do you think you’ll ever stray from the genre you write in?

I did that during my first drafts – going from strictly mystery to adding romantic encounters into the plot. Now I am not sure if I will change. I have so many ideas and experiences I may find another genre to explore.

Always good to remain open to where the writing takes you.

Do you prefer to write stand-alone novels or series books?

I started writing stand-alone stories, but as the characters developed I found a need for a follow-up book and probably this protagonist may become a series. I do have an extensive outline for a novel that I hope to have completed within a year or two.

Writers tend to be avid readers. When it’s your turn to be on the ‘other side’ of the page, which do you prefer – Kindle – Nook or an old fashioned book paper book in your hands?

It depends on my situation. Most times I read the Kindle stories. Sometimes I like to read in bed and a paperback is more comfortable.

Do you think you’d be a writer if there were no computers?

Probably not. I think in starts and stops then change directions several times. If I didn’t have the opportunity to cut and paste I would build furniture instead of books.

Great answers, Bruce! I’m glad to have you with us today. Let’s wrap up with a few of my favorite fun questions.

Romance or Mystery? I started to write Mystery, but I needed to bring in a love interest into the protagonist’s life.  Now my focus is more on the characters and the resulting romance angles within the mystery.

Heroes or villains? Heroes. The villains are becoming more interesting and the character motivations I find challenging.

Favorite coffee flavor? Not artificially flavored beans. The natural flavor of coffee grown in certain parts of the world coupled with proper roasting far surpasses the flavored coffees. I prefer the Italian coffee brand, Illy Caffe.  This was originally developed for espresso machines and now it is available for standard coffee brewers. Kona beans and Columbian beans roasted to a medium dark is also one of my favorites.

Favorite place to write? At my desk.

Ice cream or brownies? Ice cream.

Real life or Fantasy? Life is so interesting and exciting that you never know what will happen. I find it a challenge to enjoy each minute as a positive experience. One can’t skip ahead a couple of chapters to see what happens.

Thank you for stopping by today, Bruce! It was a pleasure to have you with us and I hope the readers enjoyed learning more about you and what drives you.