A question I often get asked is, "Where do you come up with your story ideas?" I, like many other writers, find inspiration in a variety of ways. For instance, my second novel, FOLLOW YOU DOWN, was inspired by one line from a song from the Gin Blossoms. I have dozens of notes on story ideas that have come from conversations I've overheard, photographs I've seen, and places that I have visited. Some of these ideas may someday see the light of day, and others may not.
My upcoming book, DEAD AIR, had two sources of inspiration. The first being a place and the second being a song. Let's start with the place. In rural southern New Jersey, there is a farm, which can be seen from the northbound lanes of I-295. On this farm, near the interstate, there is a small lake. It is a picturesque scene, complete with a dock stretching out into the water and a pavilion along the shore. It is hard to see during the summer months if you don't know where to look. A line of trees between the interstate and the lake partially obscure it from view. But, in the fall and winter, you can see clear through the lake in all its splendor through the leafless foliage.
Having been born and raised in that area, I've driven past this lake more times than I can count. It always looks like a quiet, tranquil place where childhood memories are made of summertime swims and winter ice skating. A few years ago, it struck me that this lake, with its visions of innocence, may also hold ominous secrets. Hence began my fascination with this lake and its dark waters.
I began to toss around ideas about what terrible thing could happen at a hidden lake on a farm. A faint, hazy idea began to emerge, but it wouldn't come to complete fruition until the second inspiration made itself known to me. That occurred a year later when I heard a song that opened my mind to the idea that would ultimately become DEAD AIR. I'll talk more about the song in another post on my blog. Stay tuned.
Just a quick note about the lake . . .
Today, the lake is part of the family-owned Dalton Farms. As far as I know, nothing remotely terrible or horrifying has ever happened in the lake. It is customary for me to change the name of any real setting that I use in my books. In the case of DEAD AIR, the farm had been abandoned by the Riley family for years and the lake has become a shadow of what it once was. In real life, Dalton Farms have maintained the lake and use it for events.
DEAD AIR will be available in June of 2020. Subscribe to my newsletter to get an exclusive sneak peek at the book.