It is funny how things fall into my path and I think they’d be great ideas for books. (After so many completed projects turning out to be apparent nonstarters, I’m starting to question my judgment, but we’ll set that aside.) Now, along with thinking about the Willard Hotel, I have two more.
One is something my husband found while looking up stuff for his job. It revolves around the first murder trial in California where television coverage competed with newspapers (and pretty much blew them out of the water). It’s a horrible story; a little girl went to the movies with her littler brothers and wound up kidnapped, raped, dead, and dumped in a gulch. They caught the guy and he was sent to the gas chamber. It sounds like a good idea, right? But maybe it’s too grisly.
Then, I was listening to Karen Abbott’s American Rose and was intrigued by a throwaway reference to the first wife of Otto Preminger. Her origins are sketchy but she got out of Europe one step ahead of the jackboots, lived a life of lavish extravagance in Hollywood while her director-husband catted around on her before eventually getting divorced, then moved on to wrapping up her identity in the polar opposite of Preminger: Albert Schweitzer. If you squint, she was the prototype Angelina Jolie. And there’s no book about her… yet. But maybe nobody even knows who Albert Schweitzer is anymore.
So now I have three ideas and a crisis of confidence. I figure I’ll do some research (but not write the whole book this time) before I have to decide. That’s the fun part anyway, right?