At the beginning of all novels, they have a page that says something like, "Any resemblance between the characters in this book and real-life people is completely coincidental." Every novelist I know totally laughs at that page. The author doesn't put that in the novel, the publisher does it to avoid lawsuits. And it's just not true! A book is full of people who are inspired by real-life characters. They're inspired by people the author knows; sometimes they're composites of several people.
Take, for example, the character Ollie Chandler in my novel Deception. He's part me, part this unbeliever that I know, or that unbeliever that I know, this homicide detective that I know, that police officer that I know, etc. I was coaching high school tennis the year I wrote Deception, so I put the names of every guy on the varsity tennis team somewhere in the book (which includes the gospel and many things on worldviews.) I told them, "You're all in here," and of course they wanted to know what page they were on. I said, "Sorry, you're going to have to read the book!"
About the audio link: At a book signing at Lifeway Christian Bookstore in Beaverton, Oregon, Randy answered a variety of questions. In this clip, he shares a funny truth about the way fiction writing works.
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.