BUT THE CHARACTERS ARE ALL PEOPLE YOU KNOW, RIGHT ?
No. a) This would stop you ever having pals or partners who weren’t extremely odd, or normal and then really pissed off and, indeed, leaving. b) This isn’t that practical unless you’re writing non-fiction – you need characters who will fit your book and it’s simply easier to build them from scratch so that they can. But don’t feel dim for asking the question – our culture enjoys denying the power of the human imagination and squeezing everyone’s head into the smallest and most bland and tedious space possible.
From the FAQ section on A. L. Kennedy’s website
Fiction is… FICTIONAL. I’m tired of book reviews marvelling at stories based on true people and facts, usually meaning taken from the author’s life, as if reality is the only guarantee of worthy fiction. Jules Vernes didn’t travel to the centre of the earth, Bret Easton Ellis hasn’t killed anyone and Jane Austen never married.
Imagination is impossible to define and quantify (and therefore isn’t valued enough or recognised). It’s one of the many reasons why writing, to me, is such a blissful process. I’m not writing about myself or my life (perish the thought!), I’m using my imagination. The second I will look into my life, or that of others around me for ideas, is the moment I will consider my vocation to be truly dead.