This week, one of our foxes asked, “Has anyone ever asked you to add them to one of your stories?” “Have you told anyone that you were basing a character on them?”
I’ve based many of my characters on people I know. Sometimes I simply use their names, and sometimes I use their quirks to inspire the things my characters do. But I’ve never had anyone ask to be put in a book. Maybe it’s because they’re afraid of what they’ll end up doing!
I don’t usually inform my acquaintances about being the inspiration behind a character. The one exception would be my long-suffering hubby. He’s really a nice guy, but there are a few quirks I tease him about, and those have gone into my stories. Here are some examples:
- Hubby has a terrible sense of direction. In the days before GPS systems were available, he often got lost. I have a feeling that’s why he got in the habit of leaving the house an hour before most of us would consider plenty of time, especially if I’m not available to go with him. I gave James Benton, the main character in Lost in Lavender, that same affliction.
- Hubby also hates to travel, often citing the cost of eating out, gasoline, and whatever else he can think of. We had a lot of arguments about that before I finally packed up the kids and myself and took off on trips without him. The Calico Heart, the first book I co-wrote with Stephanie Michels, featured David Miller, who has the same irritating belief.
- Hubby is a great cook. Until his numerous hospital stays this year, I could probably count on one hand the number of dinners I’ve cooked since we got married. I’ve never baked a turkey – and I’m in no hurry to do so! Hiromasa Tanaka and Alex Leonidis, the heroes in The Samurai’s Garden and Aegean Intrigue, are also great cooks, which impresses the heroines to no end.
A few other family members have been immortalized, so to speak, in my stories. I haven’t told them, and I’m quite sure they aren’t going to read this post, so I feel safe sharing.
- In Christmas Wishes, Sophie Gardner thinks that what she wants is to go to Hollywood and write screenplays. That was based on my younger daughter’s dream of becoming a Broadway actress and performer. (She switched to a writing major but still performs in local venues.)
- My older daughter, when she sets about implementing a plan, is a force to be reckoned with. An example would be her wedding. She got married here in Michigan, during her second year as a graduate student in South Dakota. The wedding took place on the weekend before her final exams were scheduled. The wedding went off without a hitch, and she got all As in her classes. That’s the kind of planning and dedication exhibited by Rose Sheffield, the heroine in Searching for Lady Luck.
- Craig Murray, the hero in “Autumn’s Vow,” (a short story in the Second Chances anthology), is a runner who has to face his physical limitations as he ages. I thought about my athletic brother as I wrote about him.
I suppose if I looked closely I could compare other friends and relatives to people in my stories. I guess it’s easier to create a believable character if the author knows a real-life version of him or her.
Do characters that you read about remind you of people you know?