People ask me all the time if I carried my novels around in my head all those years working as a Nurse Educator. The surprising answer is no. I just started writing—I had the time the drive and the interest to weave stories and lives together.
Truth be told sometimes I reread a chapter and wonder aloud how I came up with the dialogue and the plots. The characters with their strengths and flaws lead the way, and there are times when I change direction intuitively.
The best advice I can pass on is “keep writing” and find a great editor who believes in you. Oh, and keep dreaming, there are a million stories waiting to be told.