All artistic endeavors are, in some respect, therapeutic, for the creator as well as the consumer. Teenagers spill their angst-filled words onto paper in the form of poetry. Some people sing the blues. And some writers pull extensively from their own lives, using fiction as their therapy.
I’ve never sung the blues, but I did my share of teenage poetry. And all of my novels have drawn from my life quite a bit. Some of my friends have noted that Dynamistress is, in many ways, a female version of myself, and I’ve never denied this. I deliberately gave her some of my own “issues” that I was struggling with at the time I began the first book. It was an experiment, to see if I could help myself by having “her” work through my own crap. To my surprise, it actually helped me.
Fiction writers are accustomed to analyzing their characters in order to work out their motivations, to figure out how they pull through. It can be difficult to self-analyze; we can’t look objectively at our own situations. It’s much easier to do this with a fictional character. Even a fictional character drawn heavily from our own lives and problems.