It's never that hard for me to imagine what it must feel like to be someone else, whether it's an American teenage girl or a Japanese octogenarian man.
People who think my books are autobiographical, which they're not, credit me with having a much better memory than I do. I do, however, have a powerful imagination.
I have this theory that the likeability question comes up so much more with female characters created by female authors than it does with male characters and male authors.
Probably I, like a lot of people, became a writer in imitation of or in homage to the books I enjoyed. When you're so captivated by something, you think, could I do that? Hmm, let me try.
I don't really have special rituals, but I don't try to write fiction unless I have a minimum of a few hours. For me, it takes a while to settle into a mode where I'm truly concentrating.