Jonathan Franzen wrote his first book, Twenty-Seventh City, when he was around 13 years old. He had a stable home life, his mother and father were older parents. He married right after college to another writer. There were tensions between his success and her lack thereof. They desperately tried to keep the marriage together.
During this time his father was losing his battle with Alzheimer's and his mother was ill. The things that meant the most to him were dissolving. These losses stimulated a writing streak about the most important time of his life - growing up in the Midwest. His writing documented and memorialized the experience.
This novel, The Corrections, became a best seller, and at the time was proclaimed by many to be the future of the American novel.
BOMB, No 77, Fall, 2001, pp.72-78
I'm an expert amateur or maybe an amateur expert.