For me my main source of inspiration is from plays. As many of you know my main series is set in a theatre. There is a play being rehearsed and performed in the background of each book. As such I take much of the inspiration for the plot of the book itself (or at least the crime) from the play. The idea for the first novel actually came while I was working on the play in question. I was watching the show one day and just though, “What if this happened instead?” And so a book was born. For the second I used the title of a play as inspiration for the victim. While my books do not copy the plots of these plays, they do use a lot of similar ideas and themes.
I combined two of these methods to come up with idea for my short story. When we agreed on a theme for our anthology (Dark and Bitter) and were discussing black coffee, I immediately thought of the song “Coffee, Black” from the musical “Big”. Using younger versions of the characters from my novels I was able to successfully create something that both fit the anthology and stayed true to my series.
My other two novels had very different inspirations. The first was a young adult novel based vaguely on my own life as a questioning adolescent. The second is the one that sometimes gets me strange looks. My main character literally came to me in a dream. He just showed up one night and said “My name is Louis, tell my story.” He actually said this, I didn’t dream the story, I dreamt him telling me! In fact, I keep a notebook next to my bed in case it happens again!
Inspiration can come from many places and things. One minute you are staring at a blank page and the next you have a new world, just waiting to explored. Wherever your inspiration comes from, the world is waiting for your story.