Aug 29, 2011


Julie Tuovi

Julie was born in Lincoln, Nebraska and raised in the itsy bitsy town of Pocatello in southeast Idaho. During her brief 7 years since high school graduation, she has lived in 9 different cities around the world and moved a total of 15 times! Julie graduated from Brigham Young University with a History Major and Music Minor, and subsequently completed her law degree at the University of Nebraska College of Law. She studied abroad in London, England, is a classically trained pianist, and loves dancing, reading (duh!), writing, movies, canyoneering, snowboarding, traveling and paroosing art museums. Her favorite color is red, and if you feel the need to bribe her, Haribo gummy bears, and Diet Coke are the way to go!

Inspiration: Expect the Unexpected

When C.K. first announced that she was opening her blog up for guest blogging, I was like “Sa-weeeeeeet! Sign me UP, dawg!”

[Happy dance!]

But then? The implications settled in. My excitement level drooped like the gerbera daisy I’ve been murdering through a long, drawn out process of subtle dehydration and drowning.  

And not because I didn’t WANT to guest blog, cause, let’s be honest. I was like fat-kid-sees-chocolate-cake-in-bakery-window excited! I had day dreams about you all thinking I was totally cool and suave and awesome and—like—the next best thing since J.K. Rowling.

But of course, such awesome-ness requires an overly over-the-top, AWESOME blog post. Which, when put on the spot, is kinda freakin’ hard to come up with!

Call it bloggers block.

Luckily, I have a handy dandy little black notebook in which I keep track of writing ideas that come to mind during the day. INCLUDING blog posts. I’m like a boy scout: totally prepared.

So, today, left with no brilliant pulsations of inspiration, I pulls out said little black notebook, and read off the first blog idea on my list: Inspiration from Unexpected Places.

And because I’m so indecisive, and clean out of J-K-Rowling-awesome ideas, THAT, is the blogging topic you are stuck with today my friends! (All complaints can be addressed to my secretary).

The whole idea for this blog post came to me while I was listening to Pandora on my smart phone. Pandora, for all you un-savvy music peeps out there, is an online radio station. I use it cause I’m cheap and don’t actually want to BUY the songs I listen to. A dolla per song? Pshaw, i-Tunes!

Any-whoooo, so there I was, doing some edits on my manuscript, listening to Pandora, when all the sudden this freakin’ fantastic song comes on.

Now, here’s the deal. This particular station I was listening to is often full of “freakin’ fantastic songs.” This is because the station in question is labeled “Hans Zimmer,” who is—again, for all you un-savvy music peep—one of the best movie score writers in the history of movie score writers. He could give John Williams a run for his money. Oh yeah. My point? This station rocks.  

But although this fantastic station often comes up with fantastic songs to play, THIS song was particularly awe inspiring. I pick up my phone to give it a THUBS UP (hint, hint, Pandora, play this one again!) when I see that the song comes from one of the most unexpected places. I really, never would have guessed it.

Halo. And yes, I DO mean the video game teenage boys (okay, and men) all over the world obsess over.

I was floored. Halo? Halo?? No way!

I couldn’t believe that this brilliant piece of music—which easily could have been the soundtrack to the final battle scene in my manuscript—could possibly have come from the source of the hazy, comatose state of a teenage boy who has spent far too much time in front of a TV!

Later when I told hubs about my Halo-has-an-amazing-sound-track discovery, he looked at me and said, “Um, yeah, babe. EVERYONE knows Halo has an awesome sound track.”

Harumph. Okay, smartie pants. Obviously not EVERYONE knows.

It got me thinking, though, about how us writers find inspiration in such unexpected places. The grocery store checkout line. A dragon tattoo. History books. The lady who cuts you off in rush hour traffic. An ex boyfriend’s truck. Converse tennis shoes. The insulting critique partner. Drum sticks. The list goes on and on. One of my favorite things is hearing about how a writer found his or her inspiration. I find it so enjoyable, because often, they are some of the least likely places you’d think would be inspiring!

But that’s the beauty of being a writer, isn’t it? Anything and everything is fair game for our pen! As renowned poet Sylvia Plath, said:

“Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it and the imagination to improvise.”

And isn’t that great? I think so. After all, I think I just acquired a new-found respect for a long-despised video game… and if THAT isn’t inspiration from an unexpected place, I don’t know what is!

JULIE, thanks for being my guest today. And talk about coincidence, I was born in Pocatello and have family there. SWEET, eh? 

*If you'd like to be a guest on my blog, just send me an email by using the "CONTACT ME" tab above.


  1. OMG! You're so funny! I enjoyed this. I'm steeling your 'black book' idea. I didn't even think about jotting down blog posts!

    I also think it's crazy when we find inspiration! I love the shirts that say, "Careful, you may end up in my novel" lol.

  2. Are you kidding me? I lurves Pandora, but I never thought of a list for Hans Zimmer. I lurves Hans Zimmer. What can be better than Hans Zimmer AND Pandora. And there's some really fantastic music out there.

    Yes. Inspiration can come from some very interesting places.

    Nice post.

  3. Way too many people play Halo at my house. When that thing comes on, I flee. Blech! I can't stand it! I guess I've been missing all the great songs when I slam my bedroom door.

    But I am going to check out Hans Zimmer on Pandora because I love soundtracks for writing to.

  4. LOL. Thanks for the info. And now I'll be downloading the HALO soundtrack. Cool!!

  5. Julie, you are just a bunch of smiles! I love your exuberance and humor. You really ARE as awesome as JK (yeah, we're on a first name basis. Best buds and all. ha!)

    This was a fun and so-true post. I love being a writer! Sometimes it's fun to see just how many ideas you can come up with from the mundane things of life. I do love a challenge!

  6. I love that the inspiration came from Halo! It can truly come from the strangest of places. :)

  7. What a fun post. A person can't help but smile while reading it, and that's a VERY good thing. Thanks.

  8. Julie's got such energy. Oh, to be so young and enthusiastic.

  9. Great post! I love finding inspiration in unexpected places. Going to check out your blog now!

  10. Personally, one of my richest sources of inspiration are drum sticks. The wooden kind, the chicken kind, and the ice cream kind. You can call anything a drum stick--except a band (which is kinda ironic don't you think?)

    *Goes off to name a side character Drum Stick in your honor.*

    Great post.

  11. You guys are seriously AWESOME! THANK YOU for all the wonderful comments!


    Ashley: I know, right?! I kept getting frustrated cause I'd always forget my blog ideas when I went to sit down and write them. Then I thought "DUH!" I carry around a notepad for book ideas, why not blog posts too?! Obvious answer, I know.

    Donna: Hans Zimmer... LOVE him!!

    Damsel: No worries, I never would have guessed either! I loathe Halo!!

    Ali: hook me up, woman! Me, JK and you can be besties.

    John: Its really hard to go wrong with a drum stick. [Jumping up and down with joy over my side character inspiration!]

  12. P.s. CK... can't believe you were born in Poky!! Small world, small world ( :

  13. Julie you are so totally cute. Loved your blog and NEVER heard of Pandora or whoever it was who sang the song you talked about. I ALWAYS jot blog ideas down. Usually don't have a black book though. You'd be surprised what I end up writing on. I wonder if people would wonder what the heck I was talking about if I put one of my thoughts on a dollar bill. :)Been that desperate for paper sometimes.

  14. Hans Zimmer - figgin love that man. And Julie, I love you too, but I'm totally with Rob here. EVERYONE knows Halo has the best soundtrack. But you're all caught up now :)

  15. Jane: THANK YOU! You're so sweet to say so ( : And Pandora? You must look up. I'm a fan! And I love your dollar bill comment... reminds me of all the times I've tried jotting down ideas on gum wrappers...

    Lauren: Hans Zimmer? A genius! And I can't believe you're siding with Rob... dirty rotten... [shakes fist at both of you!]

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  17. I'm not a fan of Pandora. I actually *gasp!* hate it. I like the power and control of my iTunes way to much. If this causes a break in our friendship, at least let it be broken on honesty just break it to me gently... *braces herself*

    If it cushions the blow any, I've never heard, seen, or could recognize the Halo soundtrack if you paid me. I lean more towards Alexander Desplat. :/ LOL