It was extraordinary, because I had never planned to write for children. Harry came to me immediately, as did the school and a few of the characters such as Nearly Headless Nick, the ghost whose head is not quite cut off. The train was delayed, and for hours I sat there thinking and thinking and thinking....The irony is I almost always have pen and paper; I write all the time. And on this one occasion when I had the idea of my life, I didn't have a pen. For four hours my head was buzzing. It was probably the best thing, because I ended up working the whole thing out before I got off the train.
- J.K. Rowling, recalling when she was caught in a railway car between Manchester and London in 1980.
[Source: "Eureka," an article by Mathew Honan and Nick Waplington in Wired, April 2008.]