On my new book, Top of the Order, I gave the manuscript to two classes of fifth graders and asked them to make suggestions. Over two hundred changes were made based on their input, and the book is a better book because of their recommendations.
Another place I look for inspiration is the library. Yes, sometimes inspiration comes from books I find there, but it also comes from books I do not find there. I think about what books I would have enjoyed as a boy and what is missing from the library. There is always a gap between the genuine interests of young readers and the books that they find. Narrowing that gap is one of my goals as an author, and spending time with youngsters continues to be a source of ongoing inspiration.