A while back I did a review of Fighting Bob, by Bob Stockton. Curious, I asked Bob to write down some thoughts on how he came up with the idea for Fighting Bob. I am always interested on where author’s get their inspiration. What follows below is Bob’s response.
I had been contemplating writing a second book for some time but hadn’t really centered upon a topic. I knew that I wanted to write about our Navy – I had given the Navy twenty years of my early life – but couldn’t decide on a specific topic.
I had all but determined to put the project on the back burner when I phoned my brother Tom in Dallas to see how he and his family were doing. During the course of the conversation I expressed my frustration with my inability to decide on a topic for the new book.
“Why don’t you write about the Commodore?” My brother was referring to our great-great-great grandfather Commodore Robert F. Stockton. “You could write his biography.”
That set in motion my project for the book. While my original intent was to produce yet another biography about the Commodore’s contributions to the building of our country I eventually decided to write a historical fiction novel about Granddad’s naval exploits and leave his political and business side to others. I also knew that I wanted to inject excitement and some sort of dialogue into the novel in order to broaden the potential readership base while adhering to the facts and timeline as closely as possible. The problem that I faced was how to work all of my criteria into some sort of narrative that met all the requirements. I hadn’t the faintest idea how to do it.
Then it hit me. A year earlier I was involved in a serious motorcycle accident which sent me to the emergency room with a number of broken bones and other sundry contusions. Upon discharge I was given prescriptions for some serious painkillers whose effect was to reduce me to a zombie-like state with all sorts of wild thoughts running through my mind. What if while I was on the medication the ghosts of past ancestors could visit me? That would solve the dialogue problem. I had purchased Brockmann’s excellent biography of the Commodore and had a copy of Granddad’s brother-in-law’s biography which was reportedly dictated to him by the Commodore himself. The information was there. All I had to do was sit down and write.
I began work on ‘Fighting Bob’ the very next day.