|Photo by Gayle Martin|
People are genuinely curious about what I do, and I often hear questions, such as are my books a series, and are my characters based on real people? Yes, a few of my characters have been inspired by real people I've known, such as lead protagonists Ian and Gillian in The Reunion. Others are villians, such as Martha in The Letter, and Craig in The Stalker.
So what do I mean when I say a character is inspired by a real person? Does it mean the character is a clone of that person, perhaps with a different name? The answer is no, they are not. They are based on my memories of people I've known and I use those memories as a template to create a unique and fictitious individual. Ian, for example, was based on an old college boyfriend, and I incorporated some of his positive aspects into Ian, such as his desire to succeed. However, none of us are perfect, and my old boyfriend certainly had his faults too, but most of those characteristics were not part of Ian. Oddly enough, I've found some of his negative traits in antagonists in other stories, although I didn't realize it until after the book was published. Funny how our minds work.
Whether inspired by a real-life person or not, each character I create is fictitious, and each is a unique individual in his or her own right. And I must be doing a good job, because I've had some interesting feedback from my readers. Some truly hated my villians and were happy to see them get their comeuppance. Others shared their frustrations over protagonists making bad decisions. My all time favorite, however, came from a lady who told me she was reading one of my books in her apartment complex laundry room. One of the antagonists made her so mad she started cursing him out, then she looked up and saw other people in the laundry room giving her strange looks. Her story was the highest compliment a reader could ever give me.