Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Where do your ideas come from?

October 19, 2006

This is a common question at book signings and library events. The answer is: from everywhere, from everything. Sometimes the most common daily routine or occurrence, such as having a cold, popping a button, or burning a meal, can bring on a spark of creativity. Sometimes it’s the uncommon events, such as a death in the family or the theft of a car, that get stored for later use. Everything is grist for the mill, little is sacred or off limits.

Take yesterday morning for example.

I was minding my own business at the Century City law firm at which I’m employed as a paralegal (yes, just like the character Odelia Grey), when the alarm in the building went off. It was a full-scale mandatory evacuation drill of the 23-floor high-rise in which I work. Okay, I’ll confess, our office manager did warn us the day before that the drill was going to take place and to wear comfy shoes, but there was no escaping the fact that in a few minutes I would be in the stairwell of one of the Watt Plaza Towers winding my way down 16 floors to the street below.

Along about floor 7 or 8, as my chunky leg muscles began to groan, I thought: This has to go into one of my books. And this morning at 6:15 when I dragged myself painfully out of bed and moved around on middle-aged legs begging for Advil, I thought: This definitely has to go into one of my books. (More examples: Two weeks ago I had a cold. Last night, while working on the third book in the series, I gave a cold to Odelia. Several months ago I popped a wire in my bra … like I said, it’s all grist for the mill.)

Now the mystery is: Which of the events in Odelia Grey’s life have really happened to me? I will give you a clue as one that is not real -- I do not, thankfully, work for an attorney like Michael Steele.

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