In September 2016, as I was just beginning to flesh out ideas for the sequel to UNSUB, I attended Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention. I wrote a post about the photo above, which was taken during the weekend:
My publisher threw a shindig at Bouchercon in New Orleans. When guests walked in, a Polaroid-style camera was available for everybody to use. This is roughly what happened when I found it.
Me: I love Polaroids! Okay, these are actually mini Fujifilm pics, but I love them!
The Husband: Sure. Whatever makes you happy. I’m just arm candy.
Me: Wow. Uh. It looks like something you’d find in a serial killer’s garage.
Journalist friend: And everyone asks, “Who are these people?”
And so my next novel is born. To all involved: Thanks.
(And yes, in the novel, when the cache of photos is found in the garage, the people in them won’t be wearing name tags. But I have to start somewhere.)
Guess what? I took that joke, and the shiver that underlay it, and used the idea in the novel that became Into the Black Nowhere.
The lesson: Everything is material. And if an idea worms its way under your skin, pay attention. You never know how, when, or where you might use it.