This is how a novel starts

I have a once-a-day feed from Google that picks up my name on the web. Usually it's just that a library somewhere has bought my book, or one of my books is for sale on eBay, or that I'll be appearing somewhere (which I already know). Pretty standard stuff.

But today I got a terrific Google Alert via Convict Records. In September 1846, Elizabeth Partridge was one of 169 convicts transported on the Elizabeth and Henry to Australia! Now usually, that side of my family rests very peacefully in small village graveyards. They were crofters -- small farmers -- and small time merchants. I had no idea I had scurvy ancestors.

What did this Elizabeth Partridge do that got her ten years in jail, swapped off for being sent to Australia? What was it like for her once she got there?

What if....

and a seed is planted. I don't know that I would ever take this any further, but it is exhilarating to have my mind tumble in a new direction.

What kind of random things have been making you think "What if....?"