This is a very good question. My answer will tell you something about what fiction is, as distinct from non-fiction. It is a combination of a number of experiences, some experiences of my own, and some experiences others may have told me about. Added to that were made-up parts. And what-ifs. I will explain what a what-if is: Just before starting to write Author's Day I myself had made a visit to a school. It was a nice visit, and fairly ordinary, but while I was driving home I thought ""what if certain things had been different? What if they were expecting some other author instead of me? What if they had a chicken, like the kids really did at that other school I visited...no, instead of a chicken what if it was a rabbit?"" See? Fiction is made up of real experiences, sometimes changed or pasted together, made-up things, and what-ifs.