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One autumn evening, almost five years ago, I was in a mood. I wanted to sit down at my desk and dash off a piece of breath-taking genius.

Problem is, writing doesn’t work that way. You have to write a story at least twenty times over before it becomes even half-ways palatable.

Plan B. I turned on the TV and started flipping channels.

I was still looking for breath-taking genius. But I didn’t expect to actually find any. Nothin’ ever good on TV.

Except for that night.

That night, I saw a brief story on the U.S. Mailboat in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

Mail in this marine community is delivered dockside by kids jumping off a boat. Trick is, the boat is so big–carrying 150 tourists every run–that stopping at each of those piers would be finicky work.

So the boat simply keeps cruising, and it’s up to the kids to get back to their ride on time after putting the mail in the box–or go for an unexpected swim.

I flicked off the TV and walked away. That was it! Breath-taking genius! I knew immediately I had to try to spin a story around the Lake Geneva Mailboat. And that, my dear friends, is my current front-burner novel project. (Check it out.)

As I delved into research, I discovered that the Mailboat is truly one of a kind. You can comb the world over (or the Internet, like I have), and never find another gig remotely like it.

The more I learned about the Mailboat, and the summertime community it serves, the more I fell in love and wanted to use the entire locale as a basis for my novel.

I’m into research in a big way. So I knew that if I wanted to do the Mailboat and the town of Lake Geneva any justice at all, the only way would be to go see them for myself.

Which is exactly what I’m doing. The Lake Geneva Cruise Line, which owns and operates the Mailboat, has very kindly agreed to let me job shadow the crew for two days. I’m totally stoked! I’ve dreamed for a long time about making this trip, and now it’s finally happening.

All because I was bored one night. Sheesh.