How do you go about imagining and developing personalities? Did you draw inspiration from people in your life?
People ask me this often, if a particular character was inspired by someone, and the answer is no. I've never developed characters like that. I mean I take aspects of people and I usually use their expressions in a certain way. A lot of people have noted that Fury is like Goku-yeah, he definitely is. But its really more like how do I express this guy who loves fighting all the time and is kind of tied into the Akura family so I always think "okay, what character expresses themselves that way? You know what, he's got a real Goku vibe going on." so I just lean into that. That was something that kind of naturally came from who the character needed to be. So I develop personalities by giving characters traits that I think would fit them and suit who they are and then kind of baking them into their personalities and going "Okay, why do they have these traits? What kind of person would make these decisions?" and then I figure out a way to get them to express those traits. The only way in which people's real personalities influence that is that I observe people's real personalities and how they exhibit those traits.
I can actually give you a little bit of an example, it's not super specific because you don't know the people I'm talking about. I was working with a friend of mine recently who was working on his first book and I said that I would take examples of people's personalities and their dialogue traits and I would write dialogue like that in order to go "Pay attention to how real people talk and what that says about who they are and where they came from." He said "Well can you give me some examples?" So I went over our friends in our friend group and I said "This person has this turn of phrase, this person has this turn of phrase, I have this turn of phrase, I speak like this, and you speak like that." I really wish I could be specific about this but you don't know the people I'm talking about so it wouldn't make any sense to you. He heard that and went "Oh wow, you're absolutely right, what you're saying makes so much sense, I just had never thought about it like that, as being a unique dialogue trait to them." And I said "Yeah, because I think of people basically as fantasy novel characters." No, I'm just kidding. I said "no, when you write characters you should be thinking of them as real people and real people when they have certain traits exhibit them in their behavior, so you should be paying attention to how people do that."
Everyone is a character waiting to be killed off in my novel.