9 Famous Authors on Finding Their Writer’s Craft

Inspirations kick in when we’re least expecting them. When it comes to famous authors who have made onto shelves, charts and even the world’s wealthiest writers’ list, have you ever wondered what gave them that much-needed kick to begin  crafting their unforgettable stories? 


1. J.K. Rowling


Via Stylist Magazine

Via Stylist Magazine


“In 1990, my then-boyfriend and I decided to get a flat and move to Manchester together. We would flat hunt every once in awhile. One weekend after flat hunting, I took the train back to London on my own, and the idea for Harry Potter fell into my head,” Rowling told Urbanette magazine in an interview. “Coincidentally, I didn’t have a pen and was too shy to ask anyone for one on the train, which frustrated me at the time, but when I look back it was the best thing for me. It gave me the full four hours on the train to think up all the ideas for the book.”


“A scrawny, little black haired, bespectacled boy became more and more of a wizard to me. He became more real,” she continued, “I think if I might have slowed down on the ideas and began to write them down. I would’ve stifled some of those ideas. I began to write ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ that very evening. Although, the first couple of pages look nothing like the finished product.”


2. Stephen King


Via BookBub Blog

Via Bookbub Blog


“For me, on a cold fall day in 1959 or 1960, the attic over my uncle and aunt’s garage was the place where that interior dowsing rod suddenly turned over, where the compass needle swung emphatically toward some mental true north. That was the day I happened to come upon a box of my father’s books… paperbacks from the mid-1940s.”


3. Stephenie Meyer


Via the Verge

Via the Verge


As Stephenie Meyer writes on her website: “It all started on June 2, 2003… I woke up from a very vivid dream. In my dream, two people were having an intense conversation in a meadow in the woods. One of these people was just your average girl. The other person was fantastically beautiful, sparkly, and a vampire…. I didn’t want to lose the dream, so I typed out as much as I could remember, calling the characters ‘he’ and ‘she.’’


3. Paula Hawkins


Paula Hawkins

Image courtesy of David Levene | the Guardian


Before her debut novel, Hawkins worked as a financial journalist. In order to complete “The Girl on the Train”, she had to ask for money from her family. “If this didn’t work, I was either going to have to go back to being a journalist or come up with something completely new to do. It was the last chance,” she informed the Guardian.


4. Toni Morrison


Via Gawker Review of Books

Via Gawker Review of Books


When Morrison had joined an amateur writer’s group during her earlier years,  she was unaware that each member had to produce prose of some kind on a regular basis. “I was home and I was thinking, ‘What am I going to write and what do I know?’” she recounted in a 2016 speech. “And then I remembered an incident from my childhood that I remembered very carefully and what it meant, not just what happened, but what it meant. And then I began to write, and it became “The Bluest Eye”.”


5. James Patterson


Via Masterclass

Via Masterclass


“I worked my way through college. I had a lot of night shifts, so I started reading like crazy. Then I started writing. And I found that I loved it. When I was 26, I wrote my first mystery, “The Thomas Berryman Number”, and it was turned down by, I don’t know, 31 publishers. Then it won an Edgar for Best First Novel. Go figure.”


6. John Grisham


John Grisham



Before writing “A Time to Kill”, an inspiration spark hit Grisham when he observed a case during which a 12-year-old girl had to supply evidence for her rape. As he watched her father, he wondered how the event would unravel if he was in their shoes and how the legal system would respond. “The story was also autobiographical in that it was about a trial in a small Mississippi town where this young lawyer gets a big verdict. That was pretty much my dream at the time. My ambitions were still legal, not literary.” He said to the Guardian.


7. E.L. James


Via Google Play

Via Google Play


The author of “Fifty Shades of Grey”, E.L. James, began accumulating valuable experience when she started to write Twilight fanfiction under the name of Snowqueen’s Icedragon.


8. David Foster Wallace


Via the Huffington Post

Via the Huffington Post


When Wallace’s college girlfriend expressed that she’d rather live in a fictional kingdom and become a book character than live in reality, an idea struck him. He continued further exploration on this sudden moment of inspiration and then managed to publish his first novel, “The Broom of the System”.


9. Suzanne Collins


Via Famous Authors

Via Famous Authors


“One night, I was lying in bed, and I was channel surfing between reality TV programs and actual war coverage. On one channel, there’s a group of young people competing for I don’t even know; and on the next, there’s a group of young people fighting in an actual war. I was really tired, and the lines between these stories started to blur in a very unsettling way. That’s the moment when Katniss’s story came to me,” Collins said in an interview.


Feature image courtesy of Stylist Magazine, the Guardian and CNN.