Every writer I know is regularly asked, "Where do you get your ideas?" Some authors love this question, some hate it. For me, I'm somewhere in between.
With my very first novel, A MURDER AT ROSAMUND'S GATE, I was essentially answering a set of questions that had come to me while I was studying murder ballads as a graduate student (as one does!) So, back then, it was super easy and fun to answer.
With my new series, the ideas came to me differently, so my response is no longer so pat. But I am regularly inspired by 1920s newspapers.
Obviously the newspaper is a great way to learn about what's going on in the neighborhood where I set my Chicago speakeasy, providing a useful level of detail. But more importantly, this kind of event can also be so inspiring--WHY would someone bomb an ice cream parlor?
(Stay tuned--I answer that question in the second Speakeasy Murders)
And of course, the headlines reveal other interesting things about Chicago culture. This kind of headline, "Bare legs not immoral," is exactly the kind of thing I will stop to read. It gives a lot of nuance to our understanding of the "New Woman," and this is the kind of detail that will find its way into my story.
What inspires YOUR stories? Even if you don't view yourself as a writer, what inspires the stories you tell to others?
Well the cocktail break is finally over and I have returned to my blog!!!
I’m no longer entrenched in the gritty plague-ridden world of 17th century London—I’ve now ventured into 1920s Chicago—a world that is both sparkling and shadowy.
The first in my new series is called MURDER KNOCKS TWICE (Minotaur/St.Martin's), and it is set in a 1929 speakeasy on Chicago’s West Side.
MURDER KNOCKS TWICE IS EXPECTED TO LAUNCH
Historian. Mystery writer. Researcher. Teacher. Occasional blogger.