If this makes any sense: all my characters are exactly who I'd be if I were them.
It's a little like the tricks actors use of summoning up emotions from their own lives, so that the grief their character feels at the loss of a lover is fueled by the grief they once felt when Fluffy was hit by a car. Characters are vessels, and we pour ourselves into them, but the vessel is still shaped like the character, not like us.
Oh, well. This silly confusion of fiction with memoir has come up in two recent posts elsewhere: Aliya Whiteley's discussion with her writing group, and Emma Darwin's musings on the topic. Go check 'em out.
(Emma's post was spurred by articles by Linda Grant and Melissa Benn. It seems a whole lot of writers are increasingly chafed by this issue...)