Where do you get your story ideas?
Anywhere and everywhere. The most common source of inspiration is the historical research I do for each book. I am always finding some little tidbit that triggers a new idea. For example, an article in an old newspaper led me to create The Bride Sale. I also find inspiration in the screwball comedy movies of the 1930s. Check out the Behind the Scenes section for each individual book for more specific details about what inspired the story (for example, go to the Behind the Scenes page for The Bride Sale to learn about the article that inspired it). Coming up with a premise, however, is just the beginning. Somehow there has to be an actual plot to support the overall concept. Plotting is the most difficult part of the writing process for me. I am much more interested in character than plot, so I seek help in developing a story line. I have a terrific group of writing buddies. When I lived in San Francisco, we got together frequently to help one another brainstorm — anything from a complete plot to a specific scene. Since I’ve moved to Minneapolis, we do it via email. These ladies are invaluable to me and I sincerely hope they never get tired of the question, “And then what happens?”