Why, Yes I Have

Have you ever based a character on a real person? Have you ever used a TV or movie character as inspiration for a character in your stories? 

To begin, I suppose most authors must have a certain type of hero or heroine that possesses the same qualities that the author admires. Looking back at my own work I think it’s mostly true of me. However, as my career continued, I started to write some characters that ended up being atypical of my work. That’s ok with me too. I don’t really like single dimension, flat characters. No one is perfect, and when a book has nothing but perfect characters it’s boring.

That being said, in my early years of writing I did totally base a character on a real person. The character was Dan Wakefield who was my hero in Turnaround Farm. I think this was the third book I ever wrote. I occasionally edited the book as time passed, but I didn’t really do anything with until just a few years ago. So, what was Dan like?

First, his moral compass defines almost everything he does. His beliefs are his own, and he won’t deviate from them.

Second, He came from a family without much money so sometimes life was hard. He learned patience and the value of hard work while helping his family.

Third, he loves animals, and they love him in return.

Fourth, he didn’t date much. There was no time for dating when he was working so hard to keep Turnaround Farm.

Fifth, He sacrifices for people he loves, putting their needs before his own.

Sixth, He’s dependable. If he says he’ll do something he will.

Seventh, he’s faithful. Once he finds the woman he loves he never looks at another woman.

Eighth, he’ll deny himself something he wants, but he’s generous to a fault with his loved ones.

Ninth, he’s self-sufficient, which can be both good and bad, and he hates parties.

Tenth, he’s not perfect. He loses his temper sometimes, and he can hold a grudge.

While I was writing the book, Dan seemed so familiar to me. It was easy to write scenes from his point of view. It was like I knew exactly what he would say and how he would react to situations. I didn’t pay it much attention, though, except to think how much my writing had improved, LOL. Trust me; this was one of my first books so my congratulations to myself were slightly premature.

I didn’t figure out who Dan really was until a publisher picked it up, and I started edits. I knew this guy! No wonder I knew exactly how he’d react. Without realizing it, I had based Dan on my husband. Yep, Dan for the most part was my husband made over. I told him about it, which slightly alarmed him. He read the book, and after that he didn’t seem too worried so I assume he was pleased with himself. For that reason, Turnaround Farm is one of my favorite books.

If you know an author have you recognized yourself in anyone’s book?


About Elaine Cantrell

Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina. She has a Master’s Degree in Personnel Services from Clemson University and is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary sorority for women educators. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America. Her first novel A New Leaf was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest and was published in 2004 by Oak Tree Press. When she isn't writing you can find Elaine playing with her dog or maybe collecting more vintage Christmas ornaments
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7 Responses to Why, Yes I Have

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    Quite a (10-part) compliment to your hubby that the fine qualities of your fictional protagonist greatly resembled his personal characteristics.
    I would think — after being told of this partly unconscious link (and reading the novel that captures those features) — that your hubby would have been quite pleased. I can picture him taking the book to work and saying, “hey, the hero in this novel is based on me!”


  2. How very nice to know that there are heroes in our lives that we can take inspiration from.(I know that is not grammatically correct, but it gets my point across!)
    This is on my Kindle,waiting.


  3. Patricia Kiyono says:

    Isn’t it wonderful when your source of inspiration is so close by? I enjoyed Turnaround Farm, so I guess I know a lot about your husband!


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