Maya Angelou in an interview at newsun:
Growing up is admitting that there are demons you cannot overcome. You wrestle with the, oh, yes, like the prophet with the angel, you know: "I will not let you go until you tell me something." But sometimes that's what causes the tired person to become an insomniac, because the demons are so thick around the head.
I like making things up. I want to know who the characters are and just the broadest of broad strokes, where it ends and what is happening in the middle. Once I have that, I want to just start writing, because I figure it's a voyage of discovery.
Neil Gaiman writing about Terry Pratchet:
He was having fun. Then again, Terry is that rarity, the kind of author who likes writing, not having written, or Being a Writer, but the actual sitting there and making things up in front of a screen.
Interview with Toni Morrison:
But the writing was mine, so that I stole. I stole away from the world.
An interview with Stephen King:
I had a period where I thought I might not be good enough to publish. I started to sell short fiction to men's magazines while I was in college. I got married six or seven months after graduating, and for two years I sold maybe six stories a year, and I had the money I was making teaching, too, and it was a decent income. And then I sort of got out of the Zone. And for a year or so, I couldn't sell anything, and I was drinking a lot, wasn't drugging, couldn't afford it, and I was writing mostly shit, and then Carrie came along and I was OK again. But during that one year, I just thought I'm going to be a high school teacher, and nothing's ever going to happen to me.
My mother said that when she was pregnant with me she'd go out to the road and take the tar up, and chew the tar, because there was something in that tar, that, she, I, needed. It's like a craving. We like to think about how smart we are. But I think talent as a writer is hard-wired in, it's all there, at least the basic elements of it. You can't change it any more than you can choose whether to be right handed or left handed.
An interview with Shannon Hale:
I don't know where my characters come from. Honestly (and this may sound silly) but they seem to grow organically from the story. A character is what she says and does, and that means I have to write a story first to see what the character says and does. Then she gets formed by many, many rewrites (thirty for The Goose Girl).
I have to say, though, that I don't think I'm trying to write strong girls--I think I'm writing realistic ones. Every girl and woman I know personally is extremely powerful in her own way.