Many, many years ago when I was a student I met a young lady at a dance and managed to attract her back to my flat for a "coffee". As I recall it, in those days I was a hopeless romantic and spent most of the time talking about poetry (and myself of course). However, being of a certain age, I guess my motives weren't entirely confined to the exchange of loftly ideals concerning courtly love.
Despite my best efforts to ingratiate myself into her affections the lady in question was having none of it. As she left she turned and looked me straight in the eye. "I think you're basically a nasty person trying to be nice," she declared.
To say I was shocked is an understatement. In the years that have passed I've often thought of her observation. Sometimes, in my darker moments, I even think she might be right. To make matters worse, despite my best efforts most of my lead characters exhibit the same flawed characteristic. Even in the short story I'm writing right now for example.
Which is really worrying because most of my heroes are really just me in disguise.