How do you come with these stories?

Written by J.K. Kelly on November 24th, 2018

People often ask me how or where I came up with storylines for my books. For FOUND IN TIME, a thriller set in D.C. and back in time, the story just came to me page-by-page, chapter-by-chapter. I’d been to 99% of the locations the book takes place in so having a sense of things and being able to describe them from firsthand knowledge made it come natural. Obviously, since I’m in it, FUELIN’ AROUND is non-fiction and as hard as it might be to believe it, I didn’t make any of it up. The hardest thing for my second novel was probably keeping the chronology straight while at the same time introducing people, places, and events in a way that kept things moving in the fast lane.

Just as I was finishing FOUND IN TIME I took James Patterson’s online course and then got to meet him in New York. He taught me a bunch but the two things that stuck were to be sure to use an outline and he told me to “give them what they want.” I did rely on a whiteboard in my office for FUELIN’ AROUND but eventually had to move to the large white wall in my two-car garage. It’s still there and friends get a kick out of reading through the chronology – that is if they can read my handwriting. As for giving the readers what they want, I seem to have done that pretty well so far but the sequel to FOUND IN TIME is well underway and I’ve managed to maintain my characteristic fast pace and at the same time have been able to add quite a few splashes of even more intense intrigue.

I’m also quite often asked, “What about the book titles? Where’d they come from?” There were a handful of titles before I set FOUND IN TIME in stone. Of course, after publishing I was able to go back and forth and debate time and again if one of the others would have been better. One will appear as the sequel title. But in book title selections I got quite the surprise on both launches.

Turns out, despite Google and Yahoo searches, while there was not a book bearing the name FOUND IN TIME there was a film made in that name. I don’t know the writer or anyone involved in the film and there’s only rare confusion when people are searching for the book on Amazon. In FUELIN’ AROUND, the same damn thing happened! Nothing showed up in the searches until after the release at the SEMA Show in Vegas I learned that the Three Stooges made a film back in the ‘40’s of the same name. I’ve never seen it and the only similarity between my project and theirs is we both had a few stooges in the story. As always, if you’ve got any questions or suggestions, like I should find another job, write me at

"A truly riveting read from cover to cover." - Midwest Book Review

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