Thursday, September 15, 2011

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

I'll be giving a talk about this on Sunday at the Central Coast Book and Author Festival in San Luis Obispo. I decided instead of generalizing I'd talk about my books and where the ideas for each came from.

My latest book, Bears With Us, had it's origins from Facebook postings from my grandson who is a police officer in Aspen Colorado. He and his fellow officers had been spending a lot of their time chasing bears out of people's houses. I exchanged emails with him to find out some details and some other research and knew that bears would play a big part--and they do.

In that same series, I was inspired by a trip to our nearby Indian reservation with a college anthropology class to see the pictographs of the Hairy Man and his family in a place called The Painted Rocks. Yes, the Hairy Man is in Dispel the Mist. The murder of a female politician in Las Vegas sparked the idea for the plot that evolved.

We had trucks and jeeps traveling up the mountain road where I lived--and though they looked like Army, they weren't. I have no idea who they actually were, but they gave me the idea for what happens in Invisible Path.

Kindred Spirits evolved from my meeting with a Tolowa woman with a dynamic personality. Her stories about the Tolowa people inspired me to write about them--and she became two characters in the book.

Newspaper articles about intriguing crimes, speakers at Sisters in Crime meetings, conversations overhead in restaurants and airports, stories told to me by friends and acquaintances including other people in law enforcement have all be inspirations for my mysteries.

There are more ideas out there than I'll ever be able to use--but I'll keep on collecting them.


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