I was in a cafe yesterday with my lovely editor Jane. We often go to a cafe, about midway between our homes, where we can chat about this, that and everything in the middle.
Yesterday, we were talking about our cats - not an unusual topic for us - when a young chap came up to take our order.
Have you ever had one of those moments where you look up into one of the most beautiful faces you've seen for a long, long time? Well, I had one of those moments.
The young bloke, and I mean young - he would have been twenty-five if he was lucky - had one of the most enigmatic and attractive faces I've seen since I don't know when.
Now, I wouldn't say he was handsome. That word implies classic good looks. This fellow was very hip. He was sporting the man-bun, colloquially known as the 'mun' and he had those very arty oversized plastic studs in his ears. These are not the sort of looks that usually appeal to me, and it wasn't these that caught my eye.
When I ordered my standard long black coffee, he smiled. You know you sometimes hear about a smile lighting up a room? Well, that's what happened. He had the most beautiful teeth and mouth and his smile drew my attention to his eyes as well.
This guy was blessed with movie-star looks - and he seemed a nice young chap too!
Jane ordered her customary herbal tea, and we watched as he walked away. When we turned back to each other, no words were needed. We simply nodded at one another.
Okay, so by about now you're probably thinking Jane and I are a pair of pervy middle-aged women, but you'd be mistaken. There was absolutely nothing sexual in the way we admired this guy.
My first thought was, "Oh my God, I need to create a character who looks like him!"
Jane's first thought, written clearly on her face was, "Oh my God, you need to create a character who looks like him!"
Since that brief, less than one minute encounter, my mind has been whizzing around. I'm inspired and itching to write.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I'm busy working on the third and final book in the Broughton series - Torn and Inviolate were the first two. Once this book is complete, there are two, maybe three new stories queued up in my mental filing cabinet. It's all about finding the time to write them.
I'm lucky that I've not really suffered from writers' block - I usually have plenty to write about. My characters are milling about in some kind of imaginary cocktail lounge awaiting their turn to shine while I get around to writing their scenes.
But now I have a new guy. I know nothing about the young chap who took my order in a cafe, but that's the beauty of being a writer - he can be anything I want him to be. I don't need to decide just yet, but already the ideas are flowing and the options are endless.
Could he be a rock star? What about a construction worker or sporting hero? How about an accountant who goes to his very ordinary job, in his ordinary car, who lives a very ordinary life yet is possessor of this incredible face?
Ooh modern day Dorian Gray; what a gorgeous villain he would make with his heartbreaking smile!
Sometimes the ruminative process is the best part of developing a character.
Ah, how a simple coffee with a friend can become hours of pleasurable character analysis.
Fancy trying a little exercise?
Look around you, notice something that attracts your eye - it doesn't have to be a beautiful person, it can be anything that catches your attention. Write 100 words or so to describe it and, if you like, send it to me - I'd love to hear from you.
Until next week - notice something in your street you've never seen before!