Often my characters are inspired by my research and take on the attributes they need to carry the story. But sometimes characters grow out of someone I know, someone I’ve seen, or someone I’ve heard in the real world. It is quite difficult to create a fully realized character in an entirely imagined book if you rely too heavily on what you think you know about a person. Beyond the superficial, the little we actually know about each other proves fairly flimsy and unhelpful when an author is attempting to build “book reality.” So even if I am basing a character on someone in the real world I work very hard to separate what I think I know about the real person from what I truly know about the fictional person, beginning with a name change and moving on from there.
“Did you make up these characters or did they represent someone you knew?”