I've been writing fiction for more than a decade now, so I've become really used to picking up on possible story lines around me in every day life. Everywhere and everything can be a source of inspiration - the news, magazines, gossip with friends, snippets of conversations overheard in cafes or on the train. I'll hear something and it sets me off thinking 'what if?' - but what if this happened, or what if that hadn't happened, and what if this had happened instead? It's a good way to find a starting point.
Or sometimes, an editor can be looking for a particular kind of book. That's how One Day in December came into being - my editor especially wanted a really romantic Christmassy book, something that might make readers feel the way Christmas movies like Love Actually and The Holiday does. We talked about it, and I came up with a few possible ideas. I've always wanted to write a love at first sight book, so this became an opportunity to explore that too.
For many years now I've kept an ideas book. It's full of sketchy thoughts and ideas scribbled down when they've randomly struck me, sometimes just a couple of sentences to jog my memory. If I don't have my book with me I'll write things on the back of a receipt in my purse, or failing everything else on the back of my hand! I have a terrible memory, if I don't write an idea down when I think of it I know I'll lose it. I sometimes even text myself in the middle of the night.
Lastly, I've been known to sit down with a blank paper and pen to specifically think up new ideas for stories. I'll start by writing something I'm interested in in the middle of the page - say, Victorian piers or love at first sight - and then scatter lots of possible ideas and storylines all around it and look for connections and themes. There's no right or wrong way to do it, it's just finding something that works for you.
Laurie thinks she'll never see the boy from the bus again. But at their Christmas party a year later, her best friend Sarah introduces her to the new love of her life. Who is, of course, the boy from the bus.
Determined to let him go, Laurie gets on with her life. But what if fate has other plans?