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My answer: The craziest places. I'll start with how I got the idea for Let Us Prey.
I was attending a monthly writers' meeting in Minneapolis, where Mary Janice Davidson (NY Time Bestselling author of the Undead series from Berkley Publishing) was speaking. She told a hilarious story about a multiple author book signing she did where one of the authors had arrived with a bodyguard (or more than one, I don't remember). She said the author had just been at a conference where she'd had a run in with a "fan" who was upset about something she wrote. Now it's been awhile, so I don't remember if there was a physical altercation at that conference, but that particular author felt some sort of protection was needed for future appearances.
I must say, I barely heard anything else that Mary Janice Davidson said, because I was using this little tidbit to outline a story in my head. But I'm a mystery writer, not paranormal, so there was no way I was jumping on the vampire bandwagon at the time.
Before I left the writers' meeting, I had Mimi, Charles and Nick, along with the name Gotcha Detective Agency, clear in my mind. Instead of joining everyone for lunch, I went to the Macaroni Grill by myself and plotted the story in my notepad while eating pasta and drinking Chianti.
A lot changed in the story from that day to the time Let Us Prey was finally published, but the seed of the idea remained the same. And today, at the Romantic Times conference, I hear that J.R. Ward had bodyguards outside the bathroom doors, so no one could go in while she was "indisposed." Life imitating art? You'd have to have read Let Us Prey to understand this reference. (Thanks so much to NY Times Bestselling author Jennie Bentley for telling me about this kerfuffle at the RT conference).
If you are a writer, where have your craziest ideas come from? As a reader, do you wonder how writers come up with this stuff?