I'm a sucker for a screwed-up protagonist. We all have issues.
I grew up in Washington State and then eventually found my way back to Iowa City for grad school.
I was obsessed with Val McDermid's Tony Hill and Carol Jordan books, delightfully twisted stuff.
I love the fact that we are surrounded by this spectacular natural beauty that routinely strikes us dead. Hikers walk off into the woods and are never seen again. And still we tug on our fleece and skip off into the wilderness, not a care in the world.
I've written books for awhile, but always on a pretty small scale and always pretty self-indulgent. I chose projects that I thought would be really fun to work on and found friends to work on them with me, and it was all about the process.
Don't let your characters tell you what to do. They can be pushy. Some writers say that they create characters and then just sort of follow them around through the narrative. I think that these writers are out of their minds.