There are the big inspirations for a book - a story heard in passing or a conversation overheard, a newspaper article, or a 'what if' thought... Your idea behind the story.
But then there are also the small inspirations of every day, those that round the characters, fill in the dialogue, or make the setting come alive... I am very visual. I need to 'see' what I write. Thus each of the characters in my books has, to me, a face, a voice, unique mannerisms. When writing Maija in Wolf Winter, for example, in my mind's eye I kept seeing like a blonde Sofie Gråbøl (Danish actress from the original 'The Killing'). Lovisa in In the Month of the Midnight Sun came out of a girl I saw in a cafeteria at Lake Louise after ski. I people watch in the grocery store, in the cafes (God, I miss the London tube). What does a person's nose look like? How does the light fall over their face? How does their skin fold? What's in those eyes? How do they talk? What mannerisms do they have? What might they think? Oh, what are the flaws? (I love the flaws). I take a lot of photos pretending to take selfies.
When it comes to nature, it becomes more about stilling myself. I try to take my time to 'really see.' What precise shade of green is that bush? How does it move with the wind? What happens to it in sunshine? In rain? What about its roots? What does it feel like to walk past it? To run your hand on top of it?
And then it's about finding the words that articulate precisely that... And the sparser, the better.