People often ask authors where their ideas come from. I speak not for others, but as for me--not a clue most of the time.

THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY, my January release, seems to have stemmed from a conversation I had with my son, a Merrill Lynch VP. He mentioned that he had fired one of their employees for selling away. I asked what that was, and he explained. It took root somewhere in my head, and the idea for a mystery formed.

Where the dead part came from, I could not tell you. I had no real desire to jump on the paranormal bandwagon, and to be honest, the story is not a typical paranormal: no vampires, no screaming vengeance from beyond the grave, and most certainly no ghouls or zombies. Think the Thomas part of Odd Thomas, not the fighting-other-worldly-creatures part. Kind of gentle paranormal, kind of speculating on things other-worldly without being scary or gloom-and-doom-ish. It's a mystery that just happens to involve dead people, and even though I don't know where the idea came from, I had a great time with it. And sometime in January, I hope a lot of other people do, as well.

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