In 1985 or 1986, watching my son Mike wheel his tricycle around the graveyard next door to our house that we used because we didn't have a garden, I thought of an idea for a story about a small boy who wandered into a graveyard and was raised by dead people. Then, deciding I wasn't a good enough writer, I didn't write it.
Over the years I'd pick up a scrap of paper and try to write a scene from near the beginning, conclude I wasn't good enough yet, and put it aside.
Recently I came to the conclusion that I wasn't getting any better. So I wrote a short story called "The Witch's Headstone", which will probably be chapter 4 or 5 of the book.
And today I finished writing Chapter One of The Graveyard Book, and it's a real book. I know it's a real book because there are all sorts of things I don't quite know yet, and I can't wait to find them out.