As a journalist, I have spotted events or people that make me think they might be the core or at least a part of a novel. My comic novel The Commuter has a lot of information about cyber-hacking and counterfeit goods,two subjects of stories I have edited. The German Club is set against the fall of the Berlin Wall, which I covered 25 years ago as a reporter. Once you have the backdrop, of course, you still have to come up with characters, and that often starts with just asking: so what kind of character do I need to fit into these real-life events? and once you have their resumes sketched out, you may find they begin telling you where the story should go. Really. It's spooky.