Sure! Didn’t you know? “Ideas for sale.” They’re on the aisle right between the dog food and the service desk.
Okay, maybe not, but it did start that way. I needed a plot for the first book my new contemporary romantic suspense series, so I did what I always do when I should sit down and work. I procrastinated. I went to Wal-mart and browsed the book section, looking for a deep, intellectual, meaningful read that would elevate the tenor of my mind.
Of course, I headed right for the Harlequin Presents which are my favorite books of all time and have great titles that let you know right away what you’ve got. THE BILLIONAIRE’S PREGNANT BRIDE. No way. Anything to do with pregnancy or babies gets a pass from me. THE SHEIK’S UNWILLING MISTRESS. Hot damn! That pushes every politically incorrect button I own! THE VIRGIN’S ONE NIGHT STAND WITH A TYCOON. Interesting … I picked it up and read the back. Her fiancé dumped her and her tycoon boss thoughtfully offered to help her out with a one night stand. What a thoughtful, self-sacrificing guy. I flipped through the first few pages. But she’s whiny and guilty. No, no, no! She should be in a magnificent towering rage!
I looked for some more mind-elevating literature. I wandered into romantic suspense, picked up STAB ME THROUGH MY TENDER HEART and read the back. This woman slept with the wrong guy. He hid his cocaine (or some nefarious thing) in her house, and now horrible stuff was happening to her and she had to depend on the help of a noble policeman/private detective/FBI agent to get her out of this mess.
But I liked the bad guy! What if her fiancé dumped her, she picked out a guy to sleep with and it was a bad guy — and she couldn’t get rid of him? She would have just stepped in a huge pile of poo!
As soon as I thought that one phrase — She would have just stepped in a huge pile of poo! — I knew I had a plot. Because that’s what I look for in a plot — a big pile of poo for the characters to step in. I lovingly placed THE SHEIK’S UNWILLING MISTRESS into my cart, and headed home where I wrote a couple of sentences about my idea.
Okay, I made up the book titles (although they probably are real titles.) But TROUBLE IN HIGH HEELS involves at least two ideas mushed together (there’s some PINK PANTHER in there, too), plus some serious plotting, a lot of angst, and some sleepless nights while I figured out how to stage a jewel robbery. Like all good stories, this one had a happy ending — TROUBLE IN HIGH HEELS was a dream to write, one of those rare “gift” books that wrote like a dream and became exactly the story I envisioned. And in 2006, TROUBLE IN HIGH HEELS was named one of Booklist’s Top Ten Romance Novels of the Year! That means that out of approximately 2300 romance titles released that year, the American Library Association decided TROUBLE IN HIGH HEELS was in the top .0043%! (You didn’t know I could do that kind of math, did you? 🙂 ) I’m still thrilled — TROUBLE IN HIGH HEELS is one of my favorites!