I never really gave much thought to where ideas come from. They come from everywhere.
I have a Muse who breathes the words of my characters into my ear and I write them down. That's part of it, but there is a lot more to it than that.
Everything I have ever written, from the more than one thousand sonnets written in a single summer to the novels I have written over the span of decades have within them the seeds of everything I have ever experienced or dreamed of experiencing throughout my life. A name here...a physical description there...all have been amassed either consciously or unconsciously and have been assimilated into what I hope is literature.
Some were conscious choices. One name, Michael George Hartley, was lifted from a character in "Lawrence of Arabia". I had always loved the lyrical way the name rolled across my tongue and one day a few months ago it found its way into a later volume of "The Glastonbury Chronicles". Some of the other things, physical descriptions, for example, were a bit more insidious and I had not realised that I had dredged them up from characters in shows I had loved until about four days ago when I looked at one recurring character (though he has different names at different times) and realised it was Little John from "Robin of Sherwood". Another, Emma in "Uneasy Lies the Head" who will appear again as Alize in a later volume, is Maid Marion. And so it goes. I'm sure there are more in there from that show, as it was and through the miracle of DVD still is a very dear favorite of mine, and is actually incorporated into "Uneasy Lies The Head". (Talk about the old theatrical convention of Deus ex Machina!)
Whatever a writer observes becomes a part of his or her research. Words. phrases, names. physical locations, miscellaneous useless information...all are stored away in that mental library and come bubbling up into the conscious mind when needed.
We are what we write, or more correctly, we write what we are, even if we are not aware of it at the time