I'm often asked where I get my ideas for stories, and my usual answer is a shrug of the shoulders and an uncomfortable glance at the ground. If I seem a little shifty on these occasions, it's because I am unable to provide a satisfactory answer. My best response is 'everywhere and nowhere, from observing life and making random connections between seemingly unconnected events'.
If somebody were to ask me today, however, I would have a very different response. From dreams.
This morning, I woke up at 5am with a fragment of a dream still in my mind, and I knew instantly it was a great idea for a novel. Obviously I don't want to give anything away in case anybody nicks it, but I sat up for the next hour to turn this sliver delivered up by my unconscious mind into an initial outline for a book that promises to be very dark indeed.
I almost didn't do it. I was so tired that the temptation was to go back to sleep. Fortunately, I had a notebook and pen by the side of my bed and scribbled down a few lines, which woke me up enough to get to the computer.
I do wonder what would have happened if that notebook wasn't there. Perhaps I would have gone back to bed and woken up in a few hours with no memory of the dream. I'm glad I didn't. It just goes to show that ideas can come to you anywhere at any time and from any source. So keep your notebook or voice recorder handy!