I haven’t read any biographies about authors, but what I’ve found out through reading someone’s books and random tid bits here and there, occasionally changes my feelings towards a book or author. Knowing that Mercedes Lackey helps rehabilitate wild birds, definitely adds “cool points” and makes me appreciate the knowledge she shares through her writing. Through talking about Orson Scott Card’s books with friends, I found out he is a Mormon. Because of his writing and approach, I was surprised. One of them said that’s the only problem with Card, but personally it doesn’t really matter and I’ve been friends with numerous Mormons. As long as someone doesn’t come off as preachy and is accepting of others’ beliefs, I don’t really care what they believe.
In general, having hobbies or spiritual beliefs in common with someone is a nice bonus. When reading about sword fighting from someone who fences or about Scotch from a Scotch drinker, I find myself nodding along with their descriptions. Knowing the person holding the pen, paintbrush, or guitar also adds to my appreciation for what they do and where they’re coming from.