Many times when I sketch a character, when I’m right at the beginning of figuring out who this person is, I take from my real life. I’ll use aspects either of myself or those who are close to me, or perhaps someone who I’ve come across over the years who has had a great impact on me. That’s not too unusual—I think most writers do that to one degree or another. But sometimes, I make very deliberate choices. Sometimes there are challenges in my own life that relate to me, or a friend or family member, and I will inject personal experience into my stories and characters. Those choices are never made lightly and they can be scary. It can feel as if I’m allowing myself to become too vulnerable through my stories because once it’s in the hands of a reader, it’s completely out of my control. I don’t want my damaged characters, the ones who’ve had to fight in life, who’ve had to overcome—or who are still in the process of overcoming being repeatedly kicked in the teeth—to be disregarded. They’re still healing and I don’t want them to get hurt any more than they already have been….