Often people ask me how I come up with ideas. Ideas are always zooming around authors, all they have to do is grab onto one that intrigues them. The idea for BILLBOARD COP didn't come from a billboard. I was sitting in Aina Haina parking lot in Honolulu watching cars come and go while waiting for a friend to mail a letter. A sleek black Porsche pulled into the space beside me. A well-groomed man jumped out dressed in a designer suit and strode to a faded, dented Ford and placed a business card under the windshield wiper. He stood a moment, removed card and after another hesitation he put it back. At once my writer's mind started playing the what if game. What if I was seeing the dance of an illicit love affair. Or was I watching an intrigue and he was leaving instructions for the hit person regarding whom to take out. Was a woman arranging to have her husband killed or vice versa? Ideas and stories began to swirl in my mind.
That was the weekend I was flying to Boston on a business trip, a place where the Boston strangler romped and somehow the change of location sent my mind in another direction and the card became a billboard.
Hence, I came up with the following idea: BILLBOARD COP-- A STORY OF DECEPTION, OBSESSION, A SERIAL KILLER AND LOVE.
York Wylinski, a Boston police detective, short on time and patience, wants an old-fashioned wife and puts up a billboard ad. Jen Lyman, a thoroughly modern reporter wants his story and applies, pretending to be an old fashioned girl. Chasing her big story, she contacts the detective assigned to the murdered reporter’s case. The Billboard Cop is the detective in charge! Their anger and simmering attraction bursts into flames when they collide. The tension escalates when she becomes the killer’s obsession. And the detective’s obsession as well.
Premise: Accepting the unlikely alliance between a reporter married to her job and a cop who hates reporters, proves love can alter even steadfast goals.
Who would think a simple business card under a clunker windshield by a rich guy would inspire a story? And how did the change of location switch my mind set? I have no idea, all I know is the idea set me on fire and I had the structure of the story laid out in four days and still had time for research and a good time. Of course sleep had to wait until I returned to Honolulu.