With the recent release of Challenge Accepted (which- EEK! I'm still on Cloud 9) I came to the conclusion that quite a bit of elements from my real life find their way into a scene of a book. Not exactly down to every detail, but one moment, conversation, comment, etc. can stir an idea for an entire chapter.
For example: my husband owns a washed out, beat-up Toledo Mud Hens hat that inspired the entire moment when Callie and Zade meet in the CA. It is a pretty cool logo and whenever I see someone wearing it (which happens more than I would've thought) I always elbow him with excitement.
Another scene, where Callie is describing how she got into a fight at a concert stemmed from a wild night in Tucson with some of our great friends. We did not get into a fight, of course, but the thought was there as an insane women violently danced around almost hitting us all in the face. The scene is briefly mentioned, but the idea came from that night and it was crazy when that said friend, let's call her Penny, texted me asking if it was like that night. It was pretty cool hearing that.
Another instance in the story that directly reflect my life is the easy relationship between Zade and his sister. It was easy to write about two siblings helping each other out, natural dialogue, and a good, justified amount of insults because my brother and I were close growing up. (We still have a great relationship- he just lives 1,000 of miles away now).
In conclusion, I have so many wonderful, colorful people in my life and I'm quite thankful for them and the inspiration they provide every day!