It’s a common conception that whatever you say, whatever secret you divulge, or oddball behavior you reveal around a writer, it will inevitably wind up in a story. I admit that bits and pieces of many interactions, encounters and observations have worked themselves into my stories. That’s what inspiration is. A kernel of something concrete or ineffable that finds a home in your mind and flourishes—often into something new.

Inspiration pops up where you least expect it. Plenty of times no people are involved. You can find it underfoot, high up on buildings, and splashed exuberantly on walls. You just have to keep your eyes open.

Please let there be a space, Jessica prayed to the parking gods while turning the BMW coupe onto busy California Street, in the heart of the city’s financial district.

Penny burst out of Jessica’s office where she had been hiding. She fought through the crush, waving coupons. “People! I’ve got vouchers for a cable car ride and free hot fudge sundaes at Ghirardelli Square. Any takers?”

Award-dinner beauty prep was about to take up the rest of Jessica’s afternoon. She wolfed down a few chocolate truffles from a massive box sent by an appreciative client, then blew out of the office to Rincon Spa.

Chelsea sat on a planter in front of a brick office complex … She was about to leave when she saw a harried woman emerge from a building, face glued to her phone. She moved to intercept her.


Hayden loftShe rang the buzzer, then looked up at the industrial façade. It seemed like a fitting abode for him: masculine, formidable. Why haven’t I been here before?