There are many influences in a writer’s life that flow into his work. Personal experience is a given. It's difficult at the least to separate oneself from what you write. The things you feel, think, believe, and experience are laced throughout your writing. But, it only begins there.
Writers are observers. They soak up their environment everywhere they go and store things away for future inspiration. Though a good fiction writer never tells a personal account (whether his or someone else's), he uses people, places, experiences, circumstances, and events to help mold a story. There may be several different life experiences that go into a single scene.
It’s a farce to believe that writers are playing God, creating and manipulating people and events for his own desired outcome. If we did, our stories would come out quite boring and unrealistic. My own experience has taught me that, though I create the initial character and storyline, they tend to take on a life of their own. You might be surprised at how often a character or event surprises even the author. Writing can be quite the adventure!
~Linnette R Mullin