Written by
Carolyn Grady
August 2019
Written by
Carolyn Grady
August 2019

So many friends have questioned about sitting down and writing a book – how do you begin?  Do you first think of the story or create the characters? Do you outline the story, chapter by chapter? I would guess the answer would vary from author to author.


Personally, I find an idea and go from there to develop my story and characters. I don’t do an outline, but do create a timeline with birth dates, marriage dates, and important events for each character.


The Party at Sinatra’s House was conceived from a Sunset Magazine article about Palm Springs. It featured hotels, restaurants, and suggested places to visit. It mentioned that Frank Sinatra’s former home was now being rented out for parties, weddings, and conventions. At first, I considered writing about a murder that took place in the Sinatra home during a party or wedding. Instead, I decided to tell a story about a young man, Andrew Alston, who had an abusive childhood, but overcame his difficulties to find success through education and the love of a young woman. A former teacher and her husband befriended Andrew, took him into their home, and taught him the simple pleasures of a good life. It was there that Andrew discovered Frank Sinatra’s music. Sinatra’s music became part of the important things and events in Andrew’s life. The party was a celebration of his achievements and his exemplary life.


The idea for my latest book, The Girl in Hemingway’s Studio came from an advertisement for a Florida writing contest. The winner of the contest would spend 10 days writing in Hemingway’s studio at the house where he lived in Key West during the 1930s. I created my writer – Alexis Strong Caldwell, an English professor who just started her first novel, her selfish and strong-willed sister, Charlotte, and the family members and friends that loved, supported, and disappointed the two young women. I weaved real life events, prominent people and special places with the book’s characters in a story of suspense, romance, and family loyalty.



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  • Hyba Revising

    It certainly is a very different process for every writer! I love reading about where authors get their ideas for their writing - and yours have been great to read!