I am not my characters.
I once wrote an historical novel in which one of my minor characters criticized Teddy Roosevelt. I read this aloud to a feedback group, and the next morning a man and woman showed up on my doorstep. Upset that I did not love Teddy Roosevelt, they assaulted my ears for an hour with history and praise. When they finally wound down, I explained it was my character criticizing the man, not me. I did not serve in the Spanish American War with him. I did not know him personally. I could have saved my breath. They were miffed, and apparently happy to be miffed since my defense fell on deaf ears.
Another time, I wrote a humorous piece in which one of my characters mention a certain religious order that is known for knocking on doors. It was a brief mention of them showing up at the door, and certainly nothing derogatory, but a few days after reading this piece to a feedback group, I received a long letter from a little old lady defending her friends who belonged to that religion.
Not long ago a friend was visiting in our home. She talked about “you did this and then you did that”–which confused me until I realized she was talking about someone in one of my books. We had a good laugh about it, but I told her, “I am not my character.”
Well, maybe I am, a little bit. But if that’s so, I wish I could be as outspoken, witty and brave as they are. Alas, I’m just the wordsmith who delivers these characters to you.