I’m always amazed when people tell me they have a hard time coming up with ideas for books. They’re everywhere, from the time we get up in the morning until we go to bed.
For instance, I went out in the yard this morning to water the plants. It’s spring and everything’s in bloom or budding. I looked at the roses. How often has a rose been the springboard of a romance? What about the big bee that’s buzzing around the wisteria blossoms? How does it know when the wisteria will bloom? Where does it go when the blooms fade? Children’s book? Possibly. “Follow the Bee.”
The milkweed is ready to host the wannabe monarch butterflies. I’ve pretty much decided that our garden is their last stop on their way to Mexico. From what I’ve read, it takes five generations to get to Mexico, beginning in the northern states. Well, what about the families who host these five generations of butterflies? What effect does watching the caterpillar turn into a chrysalis and then a monarch have on a family or an individual? You could even couch it in terms of a miracle. Maybe somebody rediscovers their faith or decides to become a lepidopterist. The possibilities are endless.
And what about the young mother holding an infant with another toddler in her grocery basket in which the only items are two cases of beer. Who did she buy it for? Herself or someone waiting at home? It’s a far different thing to buy two cases of beer on a Saturday afternoon, but at 8:30 a.m. on a weekday? A lot could be written about how she got to that moment.
Driving down the street and seeing the attractive woman jogging. Seeing her later that afternoon, once again jogging. Why twice a day? Running from something or to something? Maybe she’s meeting someone at the park or maybe even a tryst in a motor home on a side street. Maybe her home life is so bad that she has to get out of the house as much as possible. Does she have children? Endless possibilities for stories in that job.
I began writing Blue Coyote Motel because it was 106 degree in Palm Springs, California when we were there for a wedding. The air-conditioning was wonderful. I remember turning to my husband and saying, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if someone put a ‘feel good drug’ in the air-conditioning and everyone felt good all the time?” And so the novel that went on to be a quarter finalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award contest and Goodreads Psychological Thriller for April was born. Tea Party Teddy, due out momentarily, was born when I sat next to a bigoted, narrow-minded politician two nights in a row at dinners in Sacramento, where my husband was a California State Senator. Wouldn’t it be interesting if his wife had an affair with an Hispanic man? And so it goes… Ideas, they’re everywhere!