Writer's Weekly Question # 20:
Have you ever created a character based on someone you know? Was it because you liked the person, or disliked the person? How was the character different or like the person you based him or her on?
I suspect many of my characters have bits and pieces of people I have known. But, due to liability issues, I have consciously decided to never base a character on an actual person. So much easier to be able to explain in a deposition that the characters spring full blown into my imagination and onto the page rather than argue which trait is or isn't something that Johnny Doe is known to exhibit on occasion.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. If I were to create a character based on an actual person, it would be in a satire, the person portrayed would probably be someone I dislike, and the effect sought would be vilification. For instance, a story about Vice President Dick Cheney hunting liberals on his game farm in Montana and accidentally shooting a conservative lawyer in the face.
Nah -- nobody would believe that one...