Congratulations to contest winner Marilyn Meredith.
Written by Guest Blogger Kaye George
Today I welcome guest blogger Kaye George. Kaye has been a janitor, a mental health center secretary, a short order cook, a violinist, an online mystery reviewer, and is now an award-winning short story writer, two-time Agatha nominee, and the author of the hilarious Imogene Duckworthy mysteries, Smoke, Choke, and soon to be released Broke. Kaye is also the President of the Guppies, an on-line chapter of Sisters in Crime devoted to helping unpublished and newly published mystery writers. Join Kaye for her post about the dreaded question fans just love to ask.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS?
I have to admit, this is a burning question for a lot of people. It must be, because I get asked it a lot. I’ll bet every writer does. And you know what? Every writer dreads that question because we have no idea. Really. I know that’s hard to believe, but, most of the time, my ideas just pop up, unbidden.
I can tell you a few sources, though. I once wrote a story for a themed magazine issue, but the magazine folded before that issue could be published. Another time, there was an anthology that wanted entries containing several key words, and I wrote a story using all the words (most cleverly, I might add), but the story wasn’t accepted. Both of those stories were accepted later by other publications having nothing to do with the original prompts.
My Neanderthal mystery (yet to be published, but soon, I hope) arose from my life-long interest in archeology, geology, and anthropology. Plus a little sprig of inspiration from a short story writer. It was in either Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine or Ellery Queen, that an author said the further back in history you go, the better. I don’t remember the author—the stories were either ancient Roman or Greek or Egyptian—but I remember my reaction. I knew I could go WAY further back than that. I went back 30,000 years. Loved, loved, loved writing that book. I look forward to writing a sequel someday, too.
This brings me to the impetus for writing the Imogene Duckworthy series. The research was intense for the Neanderthal, Ice Age stuff and I was deeply involved with my tribe, to the extent that they became real people to me. My reaction was to want to write something the opposite, something as wild and crazy and flippant as possible.
Thus, I conceived the idea for an Inept Detective, a person who solves crimes in spite of herself. (This is somewhat of a no-no in detective circles, having accident and coincidence solve cases. So I went for it.) Right away, I knew her name would be Imogene. Forgive me if this is your name, but it seems an ideal comedic name. Her surname took longer. I wanted the last initial to be D for the Inept Detective (wording which I completely dropped), but what?
Driving home to Taylor from Austin one night, we went past the football field for the Hutto Hippos (used in the opening of the TV show Friday Night Lights), and I lamented I couldn’t use the preposterous Hutto Hippos somewhere. But, aha, Taylor’s team is the Ducks. Just as funny, really. So she became Imogene Duckworthy.
Where the plots for the books came from, is harder. I have no idea.
If you’re a writer, do you know where you get your ideas? If you’re a reader, is this something you wonder about? Leave a comment by midnight, September 30, and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win an e-book version of either Choke or Smoke. The third book in the series Broke will be appearing soon!
Check out Kaye’s website www.kayegeorge.com for news about her upcoming Fat Cat Mystery Series with Berkley Prime Crime. Kaye is also a contributor to Make Mine Mystery.