When I was on my recent Ontario book tour I told a couple of school groups that it was okay to have crazy ideas, and to use your imagination. 'It probably just means you're a writer.' At least three students looked very relieved. One of them came up to me and said she wanted to be a writer, a movie director and an actor. 'I dream my movies, and I even see the credits at the end,' she said. I told her to keep on having those dreams. 'My guess is that one day they'll come true.'
Yes, I meet a lot of talented, creative children. It gives me hope for the future of books (and art, and music).
I'll tell you about another of my stories that came to me out of the blue - my picture book 'Josephine's Dream.' I was watching a book review show on t.v. when someone mentioned a book that I hadn't read, but I'd seen the cover. 'That cover was very colourful,' I thought. And then the word 'rainbow' popped into my mind, followed by the working title 'Josephine's Rainbow.' In other words 'colour' let to 'rainbow' let to 'Josephine's Rainbow.' Yes, I know, the book became 'Josephine's Dream,' but that was much later. And if you want to know what rainbows have to do with Josephine, well, you'll have to read the book.
I'd always admired the late, great, Josephine Baker, but until that moment it never occurred to me to write about her.
So - and I think I've said this before - pay attention to things that pop into your head. They might lead your imagination somewhere interesting.