I have been able to fit some time in to visit with family. I went to the aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa yesterday with two of my children an. As I walked around, I took in all the sights and sounds of the crowds. You never know when you can put together a great character from various people you meet.
My writing partner for The Mida series has a great story about how we came up with the character Stretch. We were at a Burger King in Dubuque several years ago and stood in line behind a very tall man. Lyle asked him how tall he was. He said he was six feet twelve inches tall. Lyle remarked that the man was seven feet tall. The man shook his head and said, "No, I'm six feet, twelve inches tall." We all laughed and Lyle turned to me and said, "He's going in the book."
Take a look around you. Remember conversations that were a little offbeat. That's where the fun comes in when writing a fictional character. Write dialogue like you're actually talking with the person. That way it comes out clear and normal-sounding, and not stilted. Be careful with accents. There are other ways to show someone is from another country.
Dialogue can be a tricky thing. Be careful not to edit too much, though, otherwise it may sound contrived. Just talk out loud and write furiously. It always works for me.