It's probably true of most writers, for we need to gain our insight and ideas from somewhere! One of my strongest memories is of my blind grandfather coming to stay with us when he was widowed. It was fascinating at the time, as he could read Braille and taught me to play dominoes with the little raised dots on them. And he taught me to tell the time with his Braille watch. So I fictionalised my memories and wrote a story for children with just such a grandfather.
In Summer of the Eagles, the heroine Stevie is orphaned at thirteen. I lost my father when I was twelve, so I tried to imagine what it must be like to lose both parents, and that's how Stevie came into existence. Even in my adult fiction, I can identify the influences that inform some of my writing today. A good exercise to try with a writing group is to ask everyone to remember something from their childhood and write either an article or story inspired by the incident - it's surprising what might come out of it!