I have been lucky to have an idea for the next Spencer mystery before I finish the current book… until now. I have what I think is a great first paragraph and I know how, in the end, Spencer is going to catch the culprit. But I have no idea what the story is.
The first paragraph was sparked by this photograph I took a few years ago of the new fireboat at Navy Pier in Chicago. Most cameras these days have the option to choose a foreground color and make everything else shades of grey. The fireboat is obviously red. The photograph is pretty stunning and hangs on my basement wall. As I was walking past the picture one day I got the idea for this first paragraph for the next book:
The drizzle started during the drive to the cemetery. Rosie and I were in the Lincoln behind the hearse, holding hands in the back seat. She had forced me to bring an umbrella, even though I was sure it wouldn’t have the nerve to rain. On the way out, I had grabbed Mom’s favorite. It was bright red. Rosie had given me a look, but it was exactly the statement I wanted to make. Her dress and my suit were black, as were the hearse and the Lincoln and most of the cars in the procession. That was enough somber.
I don’t know whose funeral it is, and I have no idea what happened. It simply seems like an interesting premise. I’m anxious to find out who died! For the last two months, I have thought about a story often… almost every night when I go to bed, when I wake up in the middle of the night, and whenever I’m not thinking about anything else. So far… nada. Since nothing is coming to me I may just start writing—magical things happen when I do: a story line magically appears, new characters appear, old characters do something I hadn’t planned. My first book, Change of Address, started out being a book about Ben questioning his dedication to the law. He picked up the phone and called his buddy, Spencer, and Spencer Manning Mysteries was born.
That phone call has led to five Spencer books and hopefully a sixth. But I’ve been told one paragraph does not a novel make. So back to work!