2. How many characters do you have? Do you prefer males or females?
A lot. Certainly over 200, probably well over 300, but since I lost a lot of my Access character database with my computer woes last June, I can't answer with a discrete number. Besides, a large proportion of those are small roles, name-dropping, not characters I've spent a great deal of time with. I think a more meaningful number would be how many pov/main characters I've worked with in novels, novellas, and stories, and that comes to 35 (excluding characters who only have 1 tiny scene or just a few paragraphs in their pov). Or 36, once I make a little more progress with 'The Trial of Tilnon' which I just started.
As for gender, I am far more comfortable with the male pov, though I've tried to stretch myself and get away from always writing that. Certainly when it comes to non-human characters, I don't have nearly as strong of a sexual 'bias.' I expect I'll find writing female avarii more enjoyable than male avarii, whenever I get to do so. Much of that has to do with the 'baggage' of childhood, action movie tropes, whatever--too many token female characters in books, cartoons, or movies who are only present to serve as either love interest or victim-to-be-rescued or sex object or the like; the only purpose of grown women to get married and have kids...and since I detest all that and want to have nothing to do with it in my own life, and feel nothing but alienation from that societal expectation and therefore much of my own gender, then it's probably not surprising that I prefer to write the male side, which isn't burdened with quite the same weight of expecting their identity to come from fatherhood/husbandhood. Plenty of room for stretching myself as a writer and for growth in this area, that's for certain!