I’m looking for a plant stand. But I don’t want to spend money on something new.
Instead, I’ve been prowling second-hand and salvage shops, looking for inspiration. And I’m looking here at home to see what I have that could be repurposed into a plant stand.
So this blog post is all about making use of what we already have.
After all, I live in California, in the Bay Area, where we’re proud of our recycling rates. And I love checking out antique stores to see what old items I can give a second life.
When it comes to writing, I also recycle. I suspect many other writers do the same.
An incident removed from Till The Old Men Die found its way into Nobody’s Child. I took a scene from my first mystery (unpublished, predating Kindred Crimes) and reworked it into a scene in the upcoming Jeri Howard book, Cold Trail.
And one of the two plots in Bit Player came from something I mentioned in Kindred Crimes – that Jeri Howard was named for her grandmother, Jerusha, who was an actress in Hollywood a long time ago. For years I thought about writing a short story about that, and eventually I started the story, but it kept getting longer and longer, because it wanted to be a novel.
The first book I ever wrote wasn’t a mystery. I still have the manuscript and I think it has possibilities. Recycle and reuse – in this case add a body and turn it into a crime novel.
Waste not, want not, that’s what I say.
My real life experiences and interests have also found their way into my fiction. Jeri Howard’s apartment in the earlier books? That’s an apartment I once looked at. The murder victim in Take a Number was an old boyfriend. I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed that.
The company in Where the Bodies Are Buried bears more than a passing resemblance to a company where I once worked.
In Bit Player, I recycled my own interest in movie memorabilia, as well as a newspaper clipping about a mysterious discovery at Camp Roberts, a World War II-era training base in Central California.
Something I learned at a law firm where I used to work became my Jeri Howard short story “Slayer Statute.” A remark overheard at an Oakland deli inspired me to write another short story, “Little Red Corvette.”
I know some of my work experiences at places I refer to as “the job from hell” will find their way into my novels.
You see, someone once gave a me a tee shirt that reads, “Be nice to me or you’ll wind up in my book.”