A reporter asked me this question and I gave a flippant reply. "The check, of course!! The check comes first." She didn't know about advances so I explained that I received an advance before my fingers hit the keys.
But that got me thinking. Which does come first? It's an interesting question. When I came up with the idea for Talk Radio Mysteries, the character of Dr. Maggie Walsh intrigued me. She's a psychologist who closed up her Manhattan practice to move to sunny south Florida to work as a radio talk show host. And she solves a murder in every book. The character and plot are intertwined. The zany crew at WYME Radio and Dr. Maggie and her sleuthing are all connected.
When I was writing young adult novels, the plot and character often came to me together. I was sitting at the News Cafe in South Beach having iced tea. A beautiful spot, with the bright Florida sunshine shaded by an umbrella. And bingo! I had an idea for a novel set in South Beach.
There were beautiful people strolling by and one particularly pretty young blonde girl. She was the inspiration for Amber Fielding in GOLDEN GIRL I watched her, fascinated, as she made her way to an Art Deco hotel and gave a friendly nod to the doorman. She was loaded down with shopping bags and I decided that she must live there.
Golden Girl is part of the Hollywood Nights series for teens. The series has three books, two set in Hollywood...
and one set in South beach. (which is known as Hollywood East because so many films are made there.)
I've been meaning to go back and write a sequel to Golden Girl and add to the series but life keeps intervening! I'm sure you all have had the same experience. The desire is there but there are only so many hours in the day.
The two Hollywood books in the Hollywood Nights series are MOVIE STAR and CONFESSIONS, the sequel.
Here's Confessions, the sequel...also set in Hollywood.
In all three books, the plot and characters seemed to come at the same time!! I wonder if most writers have this experience. I'll have to poll my friends and see what they say.
By Mary Kennedy