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What Kick-Starts an Author to Write a New Book?

As I write this entry, I’m waiting for the airport shuttle to pick up my husband and me. We’re leaving San Miguel De Allende (SMA) after 34 days in the city. We rented a magnificent VRBO about four long blocks away from the old city center. The weather was extraordinary, the people friendly, the shopping, sightseeing, and food, remarkable.

Since I’m an author who writes Mystery/Suspense Spiked with Romance and Exotic Settings, you’re probably wondering how I’ll approach my novel set in SMA. Well, I’m wondering, too! My process is far from linear; I don’t even know if I can explain it.

For CÉZANNE’S GHOST, which takes place in Aix en Provence, losing a hard drive on a French train pushed me to write a short story about the event. On another occasion, I watched a woman from my train window as my car took on passengers. For three minutes I observed her. Something about her gold-banded hat cowboy hat set atop shoulder-length blond hair got my creative juices going and I didn’t stop until I had Aline’s story told.

Here are a few of the interesting aspects of SMA that might be juicy:

1. I met a free-lance concierge who helps Americans plan their visits to SMA and surrounding sites. Good job for a main character, no?

2. There’s a mural of a giant bat that menaced the SMA townspeople. Worthy of consideration. Where did that bat come from and is he still around?

3. The Day of the Dead-1st day- honors dead children; The Day of the Dead-2nd day- honors children and everyone else. Each family puts up a cheerful shrine to celebrate the dead. I wonder why Americans don’t do that?

Day of the dead shrine, cemetery

4. This is the city of ‘fallen women.’ The roads are cobblestone and the sidewalks are narrow and uneven. You can’t gawk and walk at the same time…or you’ll fall. Do women fall more often than men?

5. People carry around eggs in bags…not always a dozen. Do they break more eggs than ‘carton’ people, overtime?

6. We must apply biocide to fruits and vegetables here in SMA before we eat/peel them. Even melons have to be soaked for twenty minutes. I’d like to get to the bottom of who is soaking what.

7. Houses are inside-out here. Gardens are within the walls of the home…there are four gardens in this three floor home. At least one fountain per house! We had two!

8. Merchants are allowed to yell about their products on speaker from their cars.

9. Firecrackers go off at any time of the day or night.

10. The church bells ring often, multiple times a day and rarely on the hour/half hour. We have yet to understand their rhythms.

11. Families are important in SMA; children are treasured.

12. On a warm day (say, 76 degrees) many Mexicans are dress as if it’s 20 degrees cooler.

13. Mexicans don’t wear shorts…tourist do. What do we think about that?

14. My brother and I had our faces painted; I decorated a hat (Catrina style), and marched with other revelers the evening of the Day of the Dead. What if a woman, face painted, met a man, also with face painted…and…

My brother and me with faces painted

15. Homes add stories here …the mirador, a roofed, no-walls structure at the top of the house has a view and an airy atmosphere for entertaining friends and family. Why don’t American build miradors? Here’s what a mirador looks like and one portion of our 360 degree view

View from our mirador

So I’ve shown you a few pictures and thrown a few ideas in the air. I have no idea what I’ll write about SMA, but it will be: Mystery/Suspense Spiked with Romance and Exotic Settings.

Stay tuned. Until then, get in on my special pre-order price on FIRE IS NICE (a book prompted by my visit to Sequoia National Park). Save a dollar before Dec. 4 when the book officially releases!

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