Do you think it's possible for a writer to step completely outside of their characters? To have nothing of themselves in any character they create?
If a writer can't put anything of himself into a character -- even the villains -- then the characters will probably feel flat and uninteresting. I always try to understand the characters, to get into their heads, to comprehend how I would react if I were them. Otherwise the heroes or villains will look cliched.
How many questions about the mcDune does this answer?