My characters are not usually based on specific people but rather grow from my observations of people over the years. Empathy is a good trait for a writer to possess. It makes getting inside your characters’ heads much easier. I’m glad no one can see me writing, because I often act out the scene. Not a good look.
Details drawn from real people and real life experiences help make fictional characters come alive, but it wasn’t until Bitter Nothings that I delved into my own family. And that’s probably because enough years have passed that I can now talk openly about it. In Bitter Nothings, the protagonist’s mother had committed suicide on what would’ve been her and her estranged husband’s thirtieth wedding anniversary. In one of those truth-is-stranger-than-fiction twists, my mother committed suicide on my parents’ twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Obviously the details and motives are different and my parents were still married, but the emotion and questions are still the same.