My "Summers at the Shore" series was pretty much "written" in my head during a three-hour drive home from a day at the beach on the Jersey Shore. It began with the idea of telling a story as someone was traveling, then having the next book follow the pattern from the other main character's point of view...all still leading up to the present day. By the time I came home, I had names and locations and basic characters. I started writing all my ideas that night.
I have also been inspired by places. For "Strong Armed", I knew I wanted to write a story based in the Upper West Side of Manhattan and wanted a heroine who believed the Big Apple to be the center of the universe. I initially wanted a bit of a spoiled, rich girl, but then wanted to give her depth and secrets and experiences that no one would ever dream of; and Ella was born.
Another spot that screamed out as the setting for a story is Savannah. I stopped there on vacation last summer and while driving around and looking at mansions, I knew I needed a story set inside one of those grand old homes. By the time I went to bed that night, I had an outline and hope to release the stand-alone book as part of a trilogy later this year.
Speaking of bed, I'd be lying if I didn't say some stories have come from dreams. I am currently working on a new series, "The Chosen," which is inspired by a dream. I woke up with the question "suppose you fell in love with a great guy and learned he was the biological son of Satan?" I have had a great time creating a whole new set of rules that combines the laws of nature with the unexplained happenings of the supernatural. Right now "The Chosen" is slated to publish around Memorial Day as a three-book series, all available simultaneously.
Dreams are also a great way for me to overcome writer's block. When I don't know where a story is headed next, I re-read parts of it and go to sleep with the characters on my mind. A good percentage of the time, I wake up knowing where they are headed next.
So, where do your ideas spring from?