Readers constantly ask me how I came up with the idea for Just by Chance, as well as its main character—an escort—and its location.
The idea came to me while I was sitting in a South Florida bar. I tend to spend a lot of time in places that are surrounded by tanned, attractive, sexy people. The women, young and old, were stunning. The men, mostly on the older side, looked healthy, wealthy, and successful. One older gentleman, in particular, caught my attention. He was sitting in a booth, engaged in a cozy têtê-à-têtê with a beautiful young woman who looked to be in her twenties. I tried to eavesdrop on their conversation—I tend to do a lot of that too—but the noise level was too loud and my efforts were thwarted. So, my imagination was called into service. Why would this lovely young girl be out and about with such an older man? When you see a sixty-year-old man sitting in a booth with a twenty-something beauty, father and daughter out for a night on the town is not the first thought that comes into your mind, particularly when he’s stroking her thigh. An escort out with a rich client is more like it. So that gave me the idea for a main character—a beautiful high-class escort, who, just to complicate things a bit, also happens to be married.
Coming up with the setting of the story was a no-brainer. I simply started with the location that spawned the idea—a sun-splashed tropical setting awash with beautiful people. Add an undercurrent of sex and I’d have the perfect backdrop for a fast-paced mystery/suspense novel. I also wanted to use locales I knew something about or have been to. I wanted a mental vision of the places where the action unfolds, which would give the story a very genuine feel. My familiarity with parts of South Florida and the Florida Keys ultimately helped give the scene locations the authenticity I was after.
So, now that I have a main character and a location, that’s all there is to it, right? I wish. Where’s the mystery and suspense? Where’s the compelling action? Where’s the story? All the really hard work was yet to be done. So I filed the idea for a possible book in the back of my mind and put it aside for a while.