I found this quote the other day as I was considering buying a book that was on special for $1.99 and was reading up on what the book was about. (I need another book on my e-reader, which I hardly ever get to, like I need a hole in the head. But I'm so weak in the face of a $1.99 book.)
The author talked about his inspiration for the book and this quote jumped out at me.
"Two nights later, as I was walking through a quiet neighborhood, it dawned on me that the encounter with the sheriff wasn’t lingering with me as a person anymore. It was lingering with me as a writer. Because it was possibly the beginning of an idea. A quiet voice, the one that often ignites my books, started asking questions…"
I love how he phrases this-- how an encounter stopped lingering with him as a person, and started lingering with him as a writer. To make that distinction-- to see that shift occur-- is to know that you've lighted on something worth writing about. When your curiosity is piqued, that means the reader's might be too. How long you let it linger, how deep you go into those ensuing questions, remains to be seen and is different, I suspect, for each writer.
Incidentally, I bought the book. Of course.