Where do my story ideas come from? That's one of the top questions my friends and others ask me. Sometimes, depending on my mood, I'm tempted to be snarky and say something like "from a story box I bought on eBay." I usually explain, though, that stories can come from anywhere - from a painting, from a song, from a news story, from an overheard conversation. You've just got to be alert and receptive and, most importantly, ready to write down or, in some way, record whatever you heard that caught your attention.
I'll give an example - the story of Spartacus has always intrigued me. A hero who fought against the odds, willing to die for his freedom, who inspired the loyalty of thousands of men who believed in his dream. Whenever I came across something about gladiators, I'd make sure to jot it down and keep it in an ideas file. But the months and years went by and I didn't write anything remotely to do with Spartacus or gladiators.
Then I hit a publishing slump, I'd gotten an agent but she couldn't sell the novels I'd written and I began to doubt my future as a writer. So I decided to just go completely out on a limb and do something totally different from what I'd written before - the result was The Gladiator's Woman which will soon be forthcoming from Phaze.
It's a short erotic story about a woman who falls in love with a gladiator on the eve of Spartacus' rebellion and, for it, I, finally, used some of the information I'd collected over the years. Spartacus appears in the story but he's not the focus. He was the spark. If he and his struggle hadn't fired my imagination so long ago, it's doubtful I'd have ever written The Gladiator's Woman.