Think about some of your favorite books and ask yourself what was it that made the book great. For most of us, the first thing that comes to mind will be the characters, but chances are for the books we love best, we cannot bring to mind those characters without recalling the worlds in which they existed.
Setting is crucial. And you never know how a visit somewhere new can stir the imagination.
Case in point: Spent Saturday in one of my favorite places, Estes Park, Colorado, a small tourist town directly outside the Rocky Mountain National Park. It is also home to the Stanley Hotel, built by F.O.Stanley (of Stanley Steamer fame) in 1909 and reputed to be haunted by several ghosts. Stephen King and his wife stayed at the Stanley Hotel during the 1970s, prompting him to write The Shining. Here's a view of the Rocky Mountains from the hotel: