Thursday, July 17, 2014

Looking for an Idea ... by J. L. Simpson

As a writer one of the hardest things to do is come up with a fresh new idea for a story. There are only so many plots in the world, but there are endless ways to tell them, and yet when you try to come up with a premise for your next book your mind turns to mush. You need a spark, a flame, a torch to light the way. It may be something small and insignificant that sets your imagination whirring. A conversation, a comment, a picture or perhaps even a TV show could be the catalyst for your greatest plot ever.

A few years ago, whilst on a trip back home to the UK, I stumbled across a TV show that sparked my imagination. Heir Hunters. The show follows a group of professional investigators who track down missing beneficiaries of deceased estates. Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? However, the team must find all of the beneficiaries for an estate and sign them up before the competition does, otherwise all their hard work is for naught and no money is earned. This is no reality TV show, this is real life with the usual disasters, sadness and drama that surrounds discovering you have lost a relative and inherited a fortune.

When I decided to turn my writing talents to mystery I just knew I had to write about an Heir Hunter. I would desperately love to create stories full of angst, real white knuckle thrillers that have readers on the edge of their seats, but it seems I am cursed with humor. The subject matter of the book, death and inheritance, is a very serious one. My heroine’s inability to actually do anything without getting herself into trouble, and her partner’s continuing frustration with having to baby-sit her, are not.

Team up an incompetent would be Heir Hunter with a professional seasoned Private Investigator. Add in a dash of mutual distrust and general dislike of each other, and an interesting back story. Give the PI a huge secret. Let my female Heir Hunter get a whiff of scandal and suddenly the plot takes on a life of its own. Bullets, bombs, bad wardrobe choices, fast cars, dangerous criminals, dead bodies, and a kiss that makes brushing your tongue with toothpaste a must all add to the mix.

If only real life was filled with that much fun and excitement. Unfortunately my day job is more calculators, spreadsheets and pencil sharpening. The most exciting thing to happen is a power surge that puts the computers out of action for a couple of hours, leaving us all anxious about meeting our chargeable hours and making the monthly billing’s budget.

I never know what my heroine Daisy is going to say next, or how my hero Solomon will respond, but I do know that now they have wheedled their way into my life they won’t be going away anytime soon. So, it looks like I will have to write a few more Daisy Dunlop Mysteries before I can exorcise them from my life.

Blurb:  Daisy Dunlop loves a challenge but heir hunting is supposed to be easy. She can deal with anything her new job throws at her, except the bullets, bombs and working with P.I. Solomon Liffey. Her husband's best friend is supposed to be looking out for her, but when she uncovers Solomon’s biggest secret he's the one who needs protection.

JL will give away a copy of the ebook Lost Cause to one lucky reader who leaves a comment on this blog. You have until midnight tomorrow (Friday, July 18th) US Mountain Time. The winner will be selected on and the winner posted here on Saturday.


Diminutive English rose, JL Simpson, was stolen away by a giant nomad and replanted in a southern land filled with gum trees and kangaroos. She quickly grasped the meaning of G’day and mate whilst steadfastly refusing all attempts to convert her to Vegemite.

She loves sharing tales about unexpected twists of fate. Holding on to a steadfast belief every obstacle can be overcome, she spends her moments of solitude creating adventures where mystery and mayhem collide.

Learn more about J. L. Simpson and her work at her website/blog. She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Lost Cause is available at Taliesin Publishing and other online booksellers.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Interesting premise, JL. We can't predict where that inspiration comes from, can we?

Mason Canyon said...

J.L., interesting twist on Heir Hunters. It's always fun to learn what inspired an author to write a certain story. Wishing you much success.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Ideas come from some of the most amazing places....dreams, idle conversations, a tiny hint from an agent at a conference, or even a little tour of a prairie museum.

Excellent post, Janet. I'm so happy to have a chance to meet another author from a faraway place (one I've always wanted to visit).

Janet Simpson said...

Thanks for letting me guest on your blog, Patricia.

It's amazing what inspires us sometimes, Alex.

Thanks for comment, Mason.

Best wishes

j.a. kazimer said...

Thanks Pat and JL, for another book to be added to my TBR pile.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my goodness--my husband and I are heavily into genealogy, and he keeps telling me to write a genealogy mystery. Loved reading your post, Janet, but I loved reading your bio even more. You're one creative writer. Thanks, Pat for the great guest blogger.

Eileen Goudge said...

Great premise. Looks like a must-read. Reminds me of Charlotte Hinger's Lottie Allbright mystery, which also feature genealogy. The best of luck with your new release!

Janet Simpson said...

Hi JA, Char and Eileen. Writing an heir hunter mystery was an adventure and this is just the first in the series. I'm glad you enjoyed my bio Char it was great fun to write.

Thanks for the good wishes.

Best wishes

Dean K Miller said...

The ideas are "out there" and "in there" as well. Sometimes the twain shall meet and if we pay attention we will find our inspiration.

LD Masterson said...

I like where this idea came from and where you've carried it. Best of luck.

Janet Simpson said...

Thanks for the comments Dean and LD. Inspiration is an odd beast that hits at the strangest times but it is great feeling when you tackle it into submission.