Writer's Notes

Guest Post: Where I Get My Ideas From

As a published author, I get many questions about the writing process, and one of the most common questions is where I get my ideas from.

By Debra Sennefelder

As a published author, I get many questions about the writing process, and one of the most common questions is where I get my ideas from. The answer is that ideas are everywhere. That’s the easy part. The challenging part is being able to identify whether an idea can sustain an entire book. There are times when an idea hits, and an author instantly knows that it can carry a book, and I have to say it’s a great feeling when that happens. Luckily, that happened for my new release, THE CORPSE WHO KNEW TOO MUCH.

For the fourth book in the Food Blogger Mystery series, I was inspired by my curiosity about cold cases and my interest in podcasts. As I listened to these shows, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to listen to a podcast about a crime that I was familiar with. Perhaps one that happened in my town or to someone I knew. That started the wheels spinning for me, and ideas began to flow.

Some of the best true crime podcasts I listened to had a foreboding vibe, atmospheric music, and a well-written script that drew me into the case. I wanted to bring that ambiance into the book by inserting snippets from the podcast, Search for The Missing.

When I sat down to write up a summary of this book, I knew I wanted it to revolve around a true-crime podcast focused on a twenty-year-old missing woman’s case. Hope Early, the amateur sleuth in my Food Blogger Mystery series, was a teenager when Joyce Markham went missing. Joyce was the mother of Hope’s friends. A hum of anxiety rippled through the town at the disappearance because no one knew what to expect next. Would another wife and mother disappear? Was it an isolated case? Or, had Joyce had simply walked away from her life?

There are other times when a real-life incident serves as inspiration. For the second book in the series, THE HIDDEN CORPSE, the unexpected visit of a neighbor’s elderly mother to my house started that ball rolling. By the end of the day, I had the book’s opening and an essential thread for the story all planned out.

Then there are news stories that can spark an idea. Most recently, there was an intriguing, almost unbelievable story on the news, and my ears perked up immediately. By the time I found the report on the news channel’s website, I had the story’s base already formed, and I can’t wait to write it.

Earlier I noted that it’s a part of our job as an author to determine whether an idea can carry a novel. Another aspect of our job is the manage our active imaginations. It’s very easy to be lured away from a work-in-progress to something new, shiny, and full of potential. The struggle is real, and I’ve found keeping a trusty notebook always within reach a valuable tool.

I hope this insight into where this author gets her ideas helps you better understand the writer’s brain. Sometimes it can be a scary place, but it’s always entertaining.

Novel Synopsis:

Food blogger Hope Early takes on a cold case that’s heating up fast . . .
Building on her recipe for success with her food blog, Hope at Home, Hope is teaching her first blogging class at the local library in Jefferson, Connecticut. She’s also learning about podcasts, including a true-crime one called Search for the Missing, hosted by Hope’s childhood friend, Devon Markham. Twenty years ago on Valentine’s Day, right here in Jefferson, Devon’s mom disappeared and was never found. Finally Devon has returned to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother—and she asks Hope to help.

The next day Hope discovers Devon’s apartment has been ransacked. Her laptop with the research on her mother’s cold case is missing, and Devon is nowhere to be found. When her friend’s body is later discovered in a car wreck, Hope is convinced it’s no accident. Clearly, Devon was too close to the truth, and the cold-blooded killer is still at large in Jefferson. Now it’s up to Hope to find the guilty party—before the food blogger herself becomes the next subject of another true-crime podcast . . .

Includes Recipes from Hope’s Kitchen!

About the Author:

Debra Sennefelder is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery.

Her first novel, THE UNINVITED CORPSE (A Food Blogger mystery) was published in 2018.When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person.

Born and raised in New York City, where she majored in her hobby of fashion buying, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in retail and publishing before becoming a full-time author. Her writing companion is her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih Tzu, Connie.

Buy Link:

Directs to Kensington’s website for retailers.

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6 replies on “Guest Post: Where I Get My Ideas From”

Hi Marilynn,

Thank you! Sometimes the process can be daunting but I do love the “what-if” part of the whole plotting process. It can be so much fun. Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend!

I wish I could recall exactly what she said, but Donna Andrews had a wonderful answer for this, naming several big box retailers,and saying something like this: that ——‘s selection was large, but most were not interesting enough; that ————–had fewer and they were okay, but, really, ———-‘s were the best.

Actually, as I suspect is true of many authors, sometimes I wish I could turn off the ideas buzzing inside my thoughts!

Welcome to Thonie's world!

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