Books start in different ways, for me at least. Sometimes it’s a single situation or scene, and I have to build both up to it and down after it. Sometimes it’s an exchange of dialogue that pops into my head and I have to know who these people are and how they came to the point where this exchange happens. Sometimes it’s an image, a still or in video, that sparks something. Sometimes it’s hearing something said; I once got an entire book out of a conversation between a mother and her young son in the produce aisle of a grocery store.
But the one thing all of them have in common is music. Songs had always inspired stories, but it was somewhat belatedly in my career that I discovered that a “soundtrack” helped my mind set. And when I began writing more than one book at a time, that soundtrack became essential; it was the main thing that could shift my mind from one world to another. In the case of Whiskey River Rockstar, I already knew my heroine, Zee Mahan, from the previous books. But Jamie Templeton was a bit more elusive, and took some searching.