Influence is a powerful thing. Especially for a writer.
I would have to say that every character, every conversation, and every plot line I’ve ever written has been influenced in some way by a book I’ve read or a person I’ve met. I could almost say that my stories are a collection of snippets from my life.
I remember once, many years ago, my mother read something I wrote and asked me if I felt as rejected and unloved as the teenager in my story. At the time, I was quite upset that she would even ask me that question because nothing could be further from the truth. I did, however, have friends who were in that situation. And I had created a fictional character with pieces of the people and circumstances I knew.
We write from our life experiences. Good or bad. Happy or sad. We write with the deep emotions that come from our joys, hurts, anger, and peace. We write about what and who we love, about what keeps us enthralled, and about what makes us feel alive. All of those things, regardless of the source, will in some way find their way to the pages we write.
Kept in the proper context, influence can be a mighty tool in the hands of a writer.
Use it wisely.