Some characters are easier to dissect than others. If I've had the same profession or lived through the same or similar situation, I can draw on my own experience to add to my hero or heroine's authenticity. Come to think of it, I've almost always had a similar experience--emotionally. I may not have faced all the conflicts that my characters have but I've certainly at least known someone who has. And it's my observation that emotions are universal--we all have them, we all share them. Hence why I love writing romance and relationship books. I get to delve deeply into my heroine's heart--and her hero's. I get to see what connects all of us at the most basic level.
The romantic in me believes that Misha intuitively connects to what's important. Spending time with my dog helps me stay grounded and keep my stories and characters on track, too.