“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?”
Actually, only one person ever asked to be included in one of my stories, and I did accommodate him. The person in question was one of my students who was in the ninth grade. I liked him so I told him I’d put him in a book. He was a bit of a rascal, though, but the character in question was nothing like the real boy. I just used the boy’s real first name in the book. I let him be a sheriff’s deputy which pleased him greatly.
Even though most people don’t ask to be in a book, I’m sure that people I know appear in my books. I had a free-spirited friend whose love of life and adventure has shown up in several of my characters. I knew another woman who got into some serious trouble, and I used her middle name for one of my villains. I never told either of them, and they never knew.
Most of the time, though, I don’t generally have specific people in mind when I give my characters personality. I just think about what kind of character I want and flesh it out from there. Or do I?
My last release Turnaround Farm really pleased my husband. He doesn’t always like the things that happen to my characters, but he was very enthusiastic about my hero Dan Wakefield. “I like Dan,” he said. I didn’t think anything about it until I started editing the book. To my great surprise I found that Dan was based on my husband. I wonder why I didn’t realize it earlier because Dan is just like him. Wow. I wonder how many more of my characters are based on one specific person, and I didn’t realize it. Probably quite a few!
One last thing, my brother-in-law used to give me grief for writing romance novels. One day I told him he’d sure make an interesting character. He clammed up and hasn’t said anything else about my writing. I’m sure he was afraid of how he might be portrayed in the book. I bet a lot of people would feel the same way.
What about you? Would you like to be the inspiration for one of an author’s characters?