Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mining Ideas for that Golden Nugget

I'm immersed in that heady, sky-is-the-limit, anything-is-possible brainstorming stage for my next two books. 

I love this stage of writing. 

Sure when I shoot emails about stolen data on microchips or terrorist plots or crooked agents to my brainstorming partner, I have this niggling worry that I'm setting off all kinds of alarms on NSA's computers, but...hey, that's part of the rush, right? ;) 

And yes, there are those odd little clicks over the phone when I call her to discuss the newest twist we've dreamed up, but...they could just be from those pesky mice chewing the lines again. 


I'm not worried. 


The FBI knows all about the series. Several of their staff have actually spent hours answering my questions. 

Okay, yes, there were some questions they declined to answer. After all, they don't want to give away their secrets to any bad guys that might read my stories. 

Hmm, it's kind of unnerving to think that I might be giving bad guys ideas. Hopefully they read to the end to glean the redemptive message as well. ;)

Of course, brainstorming happens everywhere at this stage. Over dinner with my hubby at a restaurant...I'm sure no one overheard us talking about how we'd tap someone's phone. Then again, we were sitting in a booth, so...who knows? Perhaps we should've paid cash for the meal instead of credit card, so we couldn't be tracked. 

Since I write mysteries and romantic suspense, causing innocent eavesdropping bystanders a bit of concern is a hazard of the process. Such as the day my girlfriend and I were grocery shopping while discussing which kind of poison would be best to use to kill someone. 

Okay, I'll admit to being a tad concerned myself, when a police cruiser pulled to the curb as we walked out of the grocery store. 

Or there was the time, I had the privilege of sharing a cab to the airport with a forensics pathologist, who also happened to be a novelist, and I asked him if I killed so and so using such and such if he would be able to tell in the autopsy if it was murder. The cabby kept eyeballing us in the rear-view mirror. But we made it to the airport in what I'm sure was record time. 

Of course, when I knuckle down and try to figure out how I'm going to pull all these ideas together, It doesn't always go so smoothly. 

But after spending the last few months locked up here: 

(my imaginative vision of my office, you understand) 

to finish my latest manuscript, I'm making the most of the play time!  

Eventually after lots of digging and sieving and polishing, and divine inspiration, 
I uncover those precious golden nuggets that give the whole story it's meaning. And what a wonderful feeling that is! 

Sandra Orchard is a multi-award-winning author of mysteries and romantic suspense with Revell Publishing and Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense imprint. A mother of three grown children, she lives in Niagara, Canada with her real-life-hero husband and writes full time…when not doting on her young grandchildren.  Learn more about Sandra’s books and bonus features at or connect at

Golden nugget Image courtesy of smokedsalmon at


  1. Sandra, I love the humor in your blog.

  2. Yes! Having fun with it is what it's all about. :)

  3. That's some imaginary office. Does it have WiFi?

  4. Alice, Alice, Alice, if it had WiFi, I wouldn't get any writing done!!! ;)

  5. And then we could pop over the ditch to see you, Sandra. Hobbiton isn't too far away from us in Australia.

    What a treat it was hopping into a cab with a forensics pathologist. I hope I get that good fortune as I have some questions about poisons too.

    Great post.

  6. Sandra, great post! You've lived to tell the tale, without being arrested or anything - all good :)

  7. Love this post, Sandra. You reminded me of the fun that must go along with the slogging.