My husband is a former archaeologist and he's shared information with me that you don't usually get in school. His experiences fueled my curiosity, and I developed an interest in history, science and anthropology that I, sadly, never had in college. What does this have to do with writing? A lot, I've found.
Katherine Appelgate, the author of One and Only Ivan took her inspiration for her story from a real life event (Click here for the details.) Brian Selznik also drew inspiration for his novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret from a book he read about the history of automata. And even the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle found his stories in ones told before.
In the following video Brian Selznik speaks of the inspiration behind The Invention of Hugo Cabret. And the link below that takes you to a short clip about the legend that inspired Doyle's popular The Hound of the Baskervilles:
The Rebirth of Sherlock Holmes Video : Castle Secrets & Legends : Travel Channel
And for all you illustrators/artists out there, inspiration can be all around us. Here's one of my favorite photo tours of artists making art from everyday things:
Have an inspirational weekend and keep your eyes and ears open. You may find your next great novel/illustration lurking in a most unlikely place.