There are two questions main questions which are asked of popular writers.
Where do you get your ideas?
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
I'm far from being a great writer, but that'll always be the dream. However, I was mulling over the answers to those questions, and this is what I would answer if asked.
I get my ideas from life. My character Alora in the story is partly based on myself- though not fully, thank goodness. OK, so it required extra imagination for a couple of parts, but everyone has a tiny bit of that stored away somewhere. My short piece 'Bluebell' is based on my relationship with my estranged-father. OK, so 'Marcie' is complete fiction, but like I said, everyone has some imagination, right? For me though, it's mostly a case of art imitating life. Now and then, I'll see something that I'll later remember, and write into a story. A fat, china piggy bank with delicate little flowers painted on it's back. The look on someone's face when they hear something that either pleases or repulses them. The way the sun makes the earth look like Autumn when it sets, leaving everything to bask in it's orangey-gold colour. Because after all, it's these little things which make up our lives. Without them, the bigger picture would be lost.
As for inspiration, I suppose my favourite authors are to blame for a lot of that. I am a big VC Andrews fan, and I try to make my characters as shocking and beguiling as hers always were. I've nowhere near mastered that talent yet, but the more I write, the better I hope to become. Another writer I deeply admire would have to be Stephen King. There is no way I could ever imitate his style- if I tried, it would probably turn out so bad it would be hilariously funny, good for comedy value, though not much else- but I still enjoy reading his books (over twenty in my collection now). He's had more than seventy books published, and they just keep coming. That's one trait of a brilliant writer- never letting the well of ideas dry up. I, however, have to pound my head against a wall trying to think of ideas sometimes, and all I get at the end, is "Ouch, that hurt." I have a long way to go, but I'm sure I'm not walking the road alone.
Finally, to quote from the introduction of 'Nightmares and Dreamscapes' by the fantastic Mr King, "I believe there is an unseen world all around us." I think that the written word, however far-fetched, can be the greatest window into this world. Don't you want to look through it?