During a chat at a book signing last weekend, I received some shocking insight as to where I get my ideas. A reader asked, “So how long have you been channeling?”

Okay, so she took me by surprise, but I do tend to get scenes, settings and plots from dreams, and during that drifty time before sleeping or waking. Ideas come in hoards in antique shops and used bookstores, sparks I have to write down. I also get flashes at historical tourist spots. Maybe I am channeling. But I also get my ideas from people-watching, while driving, showering, floating in a pool, listening. Heck, I take my muse wherever I can get it.

Talk about channeling, the first of my witch series came to me in Salem Massachusetts inspired by a shop called The Kitchen Witch. Suddenly I thought that a Salem TV Cooking show starring a woman who couldn’t cook would be fun. Mind you, I’d never written a contemporary, but that was how I became an accidental witch-writer. My Favorite Witch, the sequel, fit like a glove into a previously inspired idea for a consortium of Newport Mansions that support a boys’ home.

I often get my hero or heroine fully formed then I have to find his or her nemesis. Logan, the reformed bad boy became the perfect match for the sassy, sexy Melody Seabright in The Kitchen Witch. Logan knew the minute he saw Melody that she was the kind of woman who could knock him back on his bad-boy ass.

Melody’s friend Kira needed a strong man with a big but hidden heart in My Favorite Witch. Enter Jason the NHL Hockey player, on leave for an injured knee, who has a soft spot for the boys’ home and would do anything for the grandmother who raised him . . . even work with a spell-casting, penis-withering witch.

Scoundrel in Disguise started in a used bookstore with a title: Puppets through Sussex. Here, I have a 19th century puppeteer play matchmaker to the children he watched grow up. I paired him with an idea born on an autumn drive. The matchmaker knows that Jade badly needs a new man of affairs and Marcus needs a place to stay in Sussex, so Marcus applies for the job. Their real goals are more complicated and known only to them. Marcus needs to investigate the accidents keeping his crippled brother’s railroad from going through, or hundreds of families will lose their living. Jade needs to stop the railroad, or she’ll lose her home for battered women and the women and children in her care will be homeless. Along the way Jade discovers that all men aren’t created equal; some of them might be good.
Scoundrel in Disguise, Kitchen Witch, and My Favorite Witch are on sale now at your favorite bookstore. Look for The Scot, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, in bookstores Dec 2006.