Writers get this question a lot. How DO writers come up with the stories and characters that populate their books? Do they have some master file of ideas that they peruse when the urge to write a book hits them? Do they do extensive research on different topics and select one that nobody has ever written about before? I think not. If most writers are like me, the ideas for their stories come from bits and pieces of life - overheard snatches of strangers' conversations, news items, a random phrase. Anything can stimulate those creative juices.
I developed the idea for my Harlequin Intrigue, The Stranger and I, from a news story. Here in Southern California, our border with Mexico is in the news a lot. I heard a news story about a tunnel underneath the border that the Border Patrol discovered, which was huge and high tech. It even had lighting installed! Terrorists using those tunnels to get into our country is a real and frightening possibility. I started thinking about what would happen if a woman traveling in Mexico stumbled across such a tunnel and wasn't even aware of its significance? I began writing The Stranger and I with the first scene where the heroine, Lila Monroe, witnesses a murder at the entrance to one of these tunnels - and the story took off from there.
For something less frightening and more fun, I got the idea for my erotic novella, "Hot on Her Heels," coming in Secrets Volume 24 in July '08, from my friend. She told me that she had taken her 80-year old mother to Las Vegas for her birthday, and they attended an all-male revue, The Thunder From Down Under. Her mom had a blast, and the men from the show paid particular attention to her - sitting on her lap and letting her stuff bills in their g-strings! I turned that scenario into a story about another feisty old broad who gets taken advantage of by a hot dancer in a Vegas strip club, and the private investigator who infiltrates the club as a dancer to recover her stolen diamonds.
So you never know. Your lunchtime conversation about your sister falling into a fountain on her recent trip to Italy could be overheard by some imaginative writer at the next table and turned into a romantic comedy! It all starts with "What would happen if....."
How about it? How did you come up with the plot for your latest romance?