I like to be surprised. The best writing is when it defies me, when it starts going a different way than I had planned.
Human behavior in the midst of hardship caught my attention very early on, and my first stories were all pictures, no words.
However far fiction writers stray from their own lives and experiences - and I stray pretty far from mine - I think, ultimately, that we may be writing what we need to write in some way, albeit unconsciously.
When I was a kid, I was surrounded by girls: older sisters, older girl cousins just down the street... except for an older boy named Vito who threw rocks. Each year I would wish for a baby brother. It never happened.