People often ask how authors come up with ideas for their books. In the case of my first novel, Chez Stinky, my sister originally came up with the title years ago and the premise that the house was stinky because of the presence of many animals. The story evolved (drastically) from there. But that’s what started it. The title cracked me up, and even though every book on writing novels says that you shouldn’t include foreign words in your title, I decided to use it. Realistically, the French word chez, which means house, is not completely unknown to most English speakers, particularly if they like eating at French restaurants.
Unlike Chez Stinky, the original germ of an idea for my book Fuzzy Logic came from a real experience. When I was about nine years old, my sister was playing in her room with the neighbor kid. He was probably five at the time. My mom had not done laundry in a while. In a fit of self-reliance and desperate need for clean underwear, I decided I wasn’t going to wait any longer and I would do it myself.
The laundry basket was in the closet in my sister’s room. I took off all my clothes because I wanted to wash those too and walked into the room to get the rest of the laundry. My sister and the neighbor kid were sitting on the floor playing a board game. They both looked up at me in surprise because I wasn’t wearing any clothes. I ran out of the room screaming and specifically tried to avoid seeing the neighbor kid again because I was mortally embarrassed. Experiences like extreme nudity in front of boys seem terribly tragic when you’re nine.
When I was casting around for ideas for the second book in my Alpine Grove series of romantic comedies, I remembered that experience because now looking back on it, the whole thing is totally funny. (Things that seem tragic when you’re nine sometimes aren’t so much when you’re older.)
Since I write romantic comedies and not serious stuff, anything that tickles my funny bone is fodder for my books. So my main character, Jan, has a similar naked experience when she’s little, but then meets the neighbor kid 20 years later. I thought that it would be even more fun if she meets him at her mother’s wedding. And then I threw in a dancing dog too. Because what’s not to love about a Samoyed who can do the merengue?
Although I used to worry that I’d never come up with ideas, it hasn’t been a problem. They are everywhere!