If I had to choose between a relative and a good story, I would take the story.
Every life of a character is within a context. If I write detached from a social and political background, my story looks like a soap opera where everybody is indoors, not working and living off their emotions.
Men's memoirs are about answers; women's memoirs are about questions. Most male authors want to look good in their memoirs and have a place in posterity, while most women know that posterity is what happens when you no longer care. Women want to connect with others here and now; they couldn't care less about legacy!
I never try to convey a message, I just want to tell a story. Why that story in particular? I have no idea, but I have learned to surrender to the muse. I become obsessed with a theme or with certain stories; they haunt me for years, and finally, I write them.
Charles Glover Barkla