The opening lines of my books tend to come to me well in advance of writing the rest of the story. That was certainly the case for my newest Kate Reilly Mystery, Red Flags. About four months before sitting down to actually engage on the novel—as I was trying to let things like the plot, the villain, the victim, and the supporting cast cook in my head—I heard the first line in my head. It brought with it the identity of the victim, long before I knew exactly why he’d been killed. And I should note that I originally wrote it as “I looked down at my cousin’s face and tried to care he was dead,” which got fixed up (and anonymized) in the editing process.