To a certain extent, certain elements in the book strike a common chord with Montgomery's own experience. For instance, she spent most of her early childhood on Prince Edward Island. She lived with grandparents (upon two different occasions), published poetry when she was an adolescent, became a teacher and later studied literature, married and moved with her husband to a remote rural area in Ohio (and was later somewhat disgruntled over this choice).
The idea of an orphan girl was in part her own experience. Lucy Maud's mother died when she was only two; her father, a merchant, remarried and confided his daughter to relatives for her upbringing. Anne was often alone and lonely, and her grandparents were particularly strict. Lucy loved to read and kept a personal journal. Her idea of an orphan girl, though, came much later, appearing in a diary entrance dated 1904:
"Elderly couple apply to orphan asylum for a boy. By mistake a girl is sent them."
She started writing Anne of Green Gables shortly thereafter.
Check out the following references for more information concerning Lucy Maud Montgomery's life and her sources of inspiration for her book. As her Anne comments in Green Gables, "It's all very well to read about sorrows and imagine yourself living through them heroically, but it's not so nice when you really come to have them, is it?"