Hey Sarah Jane!
I will have to say that my first novel came to me on accident (no pressure, right?). My wonderful and amazing Grandmother asked me to write her a clean love story, and I about gagged (I was fourteen when she first asked.). I told her I’d write her a quick short story using a theme that had been on my mind, and right after my birthday, I started the humiliating journey of writing what I had acclaimed a genre to be ‘cliche, predictable, and blah’. I motivated myself by saying I would juice the idea of a romantic story- destroy the predictablility, tease with cliche and surprise, and definitely get rid of the blah. After the projected short story’s beginning ended up as long as a chapter- I thought I might have stumbled upon something I didn’t understand. I was excited and curious- so much I quit marching band because all I did was write. It was amazing and sounded insane when I told people what I was doing. Until I held the stack of pages in my hand- freshly printed- everyone thought it was a myth. Years later (well- three)- Everyone comes up to asking ‘Hey- What novel are you on?’ I don’t even worry about where the story goes or how long it is- it’s crazy. The novels work themselves out- and they fill me with so much happiness. When strangers read them, I get to see the real effects of all of my hours of sweat. I guess my inspiration comes from wanting to get into people’s heads and create stories and characters that stick with them a year later when they see my around and ask me things about what is going to happen to a particular character in the next book or was something I said a hint to the bigger mystery. It’s just an experience I adore and feel blessed to be experiencing.
Good luck in your novel. (I have a cat- but I prefer my dogs hehe.)