My first thoughts about The Bootlegger’s Legacy were to write a book about a couple of early middle aged guys (40s) who needed some quick cash. Originally I was going to have them try to make some kind of drug deal. And the book was going to be about their somewhat comical venture into drug trafficking.
The basis for this idea was in fact something I knew about in my past (probably early 1980s) in Oklahoma City. A sometimes drinking buddy I knew who owned a clothing store supposedly was involved in something similar. It was a lame brained scheme that never actually happened–as far as I know. This was being driven by his need to bail his business out of a financial mess.
That little bit of information about something that may or may not have happened was the original idea for TBL. I have talked to a couple of authors who write fiction and they both describe a process of extensive research about a core subject matter or event that will proceed any actual writing. Often this research will take months and sometimes years before anything is actually written. I think that would drive me nuts. I get an idea and I immediately start writing. Like a lot of things in life there are many ways of doing whatever you are trying to do–and the right way is the one that works for you.