Willa Cather said this quote

But writing is a queer business. If one does anything that is sharp and keep enough to go over the line, to get itself with the work that is taken seriously, one has to have had either an unusual knowledge of or a peculiar sympathy with the characters one handles. One can’t write about what one most admires always—you must, by some accident, have seen into your character very deeply, and it is this accident of intense realization of him that give your writing about him tone and distinction, that lifts it above the commonplace, in other words