The author of I Am Ocilla yesterday posed the question "Where does your inspiration come from?" Or something to that effect. Forgive me, Diane, I can't remember your exact words.
This is slightly different than the more common and somewhat annoying question found in author interviews "How do you get your ideas?" I don't think I've read or listened to an interview about a new book where the moderator didn't ask that.
I personally think it's a silly interview question, like asking "Why are your eyes green?" I don't know. They just are. I don't know where my ideas come from. They just come.
Upon further reflection, I must assume the question is asked because normal, non-author people don't think up stories. I don't know if the stories don't germinate or a non-author just ignores them and moves on. Maybe a little of both.
But the brain of a story-teller does seem to be a mystery to non-story-tellers. Well, your brains are mysteries to us, too. That's one of the reasons we write.
As I told Diane, my inspiration usually comes from seeing another story and realizing I could tell it differently (in my brain "differently" is spelled "better," but that's just my natural arrogance leaking out). Movies are my most common inspiration, but not entire movies. Often one tiny scene or look or gesture hits me just the right way and I find myself creating a story around that moment. The final product is rarely recognizable from its seed.
Every once in a while, a dream will provide a possible story thread. I have a few what I call "short stories" that started as a dream. I doubt very much I will ever try to publish those. Perhaps after my death.
I can trace every one of my potential novels, except for Star of Justice, to a movie moment. I don't know where Star of Justice came from. I am glad it came.