So, when a reader sends me an email, typically their question goes like this:
"Joseph, I've read your book and your bio, Dr. Michael Sterling is you isn't he?"
My answer is always the same:
"Parts of him are, but parts of Private York are too." (I can just see their eyebrows lift; I love it.)
(Private York is Dr. Sterling's unannouced, and unwanted side-kick; he appears in my next novel, too.)
You see, I think most of us that write inject a bit of our reality and subconcious into our work, but not into just the hero. Dr. Sterling is certainly me - not literally - but he represents much of what I've done, accomplished, and believe; he is, to some extent, who I am now and represents from where I've come and to the level I aspire. He is part fantasty and part reality. His attitude and demeanor reflects a bit of my own, but so does Private York's. I've often replied to these questions with this:
"Dr. Sterling is a culmination of my life as a mature man, and is how I see myself, or would like to see myself, but York is certainly me when younger, brash, and inexperienced, but full of all the arrogance, confidence, and swagger that comes with being twenty-something. He is the asshole with fantastic potential that I was."
When reading a piece of fiction, think of this: the protagonist, supporting characters, and even the antagonist, represent bits of the subconcious of the author - Makes you wonder about the author of the "Dexter" serial-killer novels; if that doesn't blow your mind, I don't know what will...