On a multi-family camping trip in the mountains, the adventurous young people discovered a dilapidated hunting blind. Branches had been placed across a narrow gully, and a blue plastic tarp hung over the entrance. Age and weather had worn it down, giving it an air of creepy decay. The kids had great fun dropping through the “roof” and sliding down the gully full of rotting leaves.
I had a “what if” moment. My imagination dreamed up a body buried under the leaves. That image stuck with me for a couple years before it worked into a story. In Stone Cold Case, the body is not found in a hunting blind, but both the real blue tarp and the imaginary body became vital to the story.
The hunting blind evolved into a prospector's dugout. These structures dot the Colorado mountains. Some are log cabins dug into a hillside, while others are little more than a crude lean-to. They exist in varying states of condition. On a hunting trip I ran across this dugout, now used by cattle. In my novel, the dugout becomes critical to solving a murder case.
Where do I get my ideas? This time, from the Colorado mountains, and the bits of physical history still in existence.