There are lots of people who help during the course of writing a novel, from editors, to family, to friends, to research sources. As an author, its important to recognize people for their part in making my book the best it can be, and often, I forget someone. I've started keeping better notes as I go along, but it's still not a perfect science. Some of the people help in ways other than the obvious, some are part of the inspiration.
The obvious ones are those who helped me with my research, like the ladies at the Community Crisis Center. Among those I forgot to include are my sister for her information on fires and insurance and restoration scenarios. She helped in other areas as well, so here's my shout out: Thank you, Robyn!
I often include someone who inadvertently helped to inspire a character or a scene -- and in this story, through the magic of Facebook, I had the opportunity to reconnect with my former tennis coach. Sharing memories brought back fun times and resurfaced old memories. One of those memories, a 30-second experience dating back to puberty, launched the idea for Return to Hoffman Grove.
Personal memories get reshaped in a book. Things I witnessed (but didn't live first-hand), people I didn't know well but empathized with. I played tennis with a hot-head who threw his racket into the fence, but I didn't know him very well off the court. I played with a girl whose father gave her hell for losing the first time she met an unknown, untried opponent on the practice court -- someone who usurped her spot as Number One on the team. Again, I didn't know her off the court, but these memories helped me to shape the characters you see in the book. Imagine what it must have been like to be that person! Art imitating life, molded to suit the purposes of a story.
Along with the situational memories, I remembered one of the stars of the tennis team. I can't say he inspired the story in any way, but he is part of the tennis memories that shaped the backstory of this novel. I have other memories of The Nice Guy. His murder would make a novel in itself, but I don't know that I could do that story justice. Instead, I wanted to remember his talent and the mark he left during his short life. He made an impression on me, as he did with most of the people he crossed paths with. Although he doesn't make an appearance in the book, he is part of the memories that went into it.
Inspirations come from all sorts of unusual places. For me, it's important to acknowledge them in my dedications -- story related or otherwise.