Most writers can't let go of the idea they may be schizophrenic at least once or twice in their lives. They have people living inside their heads. They hear voices, they talk to themselves.
I'm no exception. Standing in line at a grocery store not too long ago, I blurted out to the cashier, "That's why Ophelia didn't recognize Davingdale, she wasn't wearing her glasses!" Naturally, the cashier thought I was nuts.
Living in our heads with other people is hard. Especially when you accidentally call your children by your characters' names. Or your significant other. Somehow, they're always there. You can't escape them.
Hence the shcizophrenia. (And please, for all intents and purposes, this is just a playful concept. I know and understand that schizophrenia is a dreadful and serious disease.)
My characters come to me out of the blue. I don't ask for them. I don't look for them. They just magically appear out of thin air. Sometimes it's only a name. Sometimes a snippet of conversation.
Penny and William (THE LADY'S MASQUERADE) appeared to me in a gazebo having a conversation. I had no idea who they were or what they were doing, but there they were. And I took that conversation and wrote it down. Mind you, that first conversation morphed into something completely different for the novel, as a matter of fact, that first conversation had nothing to do with the book. The only thing that remains is the gazebo.
Likewise, for Violet and Ellis (THE LADY'S FATE). Their first conversation was in a flower shop, which was discarded for a river, and a boat dock.
Sometimes I'll see someone on the street, or like last year at the beach, and a full-blown character is born. I called him "Jack" and by the end of my two week stay in Narragansett, I thought I knew him inside and out. Of course, never having spoken to him, I'm sure he was nothing like the "character" I made him out to be, but he served a very singular purpose. He became the love interest for my latest leading lady.
So the next time you see someone talking to themselves in the bookstore, or writing feverishly in a coffee house, ask them if they're a writer. Who knows, it might be me.