Writers are the oddest people. We have "voices" in our heads. Whole worlds exist inside us that other people can't see, or hear or touch.
Perhaps I should qualify this statement so that no one is insulted. I am an odd duck. I like to think of storytelling as the ability to touch other dimensions. Fanciful I know, but I can't understand how I could possibly be responsible for the people I know in those worlds. How could it be that I am the one who thinks their thoughts and feels their feelings...after all I have never been an 1800's rancher or encountered a demon or ran a special op in South America. Yet those stories exist-the people in them are as real to me as you are. Characters have been known to stand at the end of my bed and wait patiently for me to follow them. (Sounds crazy, right?)
So I explain it like this... I have a gift -sort of like how psychics are portrayed. I can "look" into lives that exist in other worlds. All I do after that is write down what I see. Then after the story is drafted, I go back and make it a book for this world. The weird part- and this happens more often then I admit- is when I've written a scene and then go back to verify with research- only to discover that everything I "saw" actually happened at that time and in that place.
For example, I wrote a regency set romance once and Gypsies played an important part in the story-huh, I thought, that was interesting. So I did some research...and yes, indeed there were gypsies in that part of England at that time...huh, cool.
Maybe I absorbed the information sometime in the past and had forgotten. That's one explanation... I personally like to think those people exist-those stories really happen somewhere. I'm merely lucky enough to get to "see" them. Don't you think it's a little closed minded to think this time and this dimension we live in are the only ones that exist? (In fact we can mathematically calculate unlimited number of dimensions. So, they do exist... mathematically.) If so, then why can't there be people in them-living lives, having adventures?
Okay, laugh away-I told you. I'm an odd duck. ;)