Okay, we're kind of a creepy bunch!
Where do get these strange, off-the-wall ideas anyway?
We get them by looking over our shoulders. Or our eyes which never stop darting around the room. Or the breath catching in our throats over things "normal" people wouldn't even notice.
You think I'm pulling your leg?
One of my first works was birthed on a "Dark and stormy night". Okay, now I'm just kidding. Seriously, picture this. My twelve-year old daughter is chattering next to me as I try to maneuver the car through another horrendous Michigan snow storm. She's going to spend the night with a friend and a house full of girls for a birthday sleepover. Once we finally get there and are unloading her sleeping bag, presents and other "stuff", she flips out 'cuz we forgot her pillow. "Gotta have my pillow." So, wonderful super mom that I am (that's been contested many times on some psychiatrist's couch, no doubt) I drive through the storm again and retrieve the pillow. As I drop it off, I look at the birthday girl's house and I think to myself, what do I really know about these people? Well, if there are any problems, my daughter can call. No big deal. I've met the parents, they seem like nice folks.
Or are they?
Now, my trip back home if filled with what ifs and I've got this horrid stomachache all of a sudden. What if she wasn't twelve?
What if they weren't nice people?
What if I returned in the morning and the house was empty?
No adults, no kids, no balloons, No nada!
Okay, immediately I ran, didn't walk, to the computer and started banging out the story of five-year old girls who disappear from a birthday sleepover. My friends thought I was just a little bit crazy to even imagine such a scenario, but in the mind of a suspense writer, it was just another day in strangeland. I think I speak for most of us when I say it's hard to look at the news,
a magazine or any situation without thinking,
Ooohhh, that would make a really great story!
Or maybe it's only the woman in the mirror
who looks at me each morning and says,
"Well, where will we find suspense today?"
Or maybe, it's the face that looks over my shoulder when I clear the steam.
Either way, it's gonna be a great day for writing suspense!