A "Graveyard Tour" with Neil Gaiman
Here's a bit from the NPR feature (click on the link for the whole thing):
When we asked young listeners to send us their questions about The Graveyard Book, many wrote in to ask how Gaiman dreamt up this imaginative story.
It began 25 years ago, Gaiman explains, when he and his family lived in "a very tall, spindly building." His son was 2 years old at the time and loved to ride his tricycle — but the building didn't have a yard or garden where he could play. So Gaiman used to take his son across the lane to a country churchyard — where there were gravestones that went back 800 years.
"He would just pedal his tricycle happily and run around in the little country graveyard," Gaiman recalls. "I remember just one day thinking: He looks so comfortable here. And it was as if a little door opened in my head."
Gaiman suddenly had the idea to write a book about a child raised in a graveyard. It would be sort of like Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, in which an abandoned boy is raised by wild animals and taught all the things the animals know. The Graveyard Book, Gaiman decided, would be about a child "raised by dead people and taught all the things that dead people know."