One question a lot of writers get is, “do you base your characters off real people?” Or, “who am I in your book?” It gets old after a while, as if we’re not creative enough to come up with realistic characters without stealing all our friends’ personality traits.
But here is the thing, if you are important to me, then yeah, there might be some Easter eggs hidden in there someplace that you would recognize.
The only character I have based directly off someone in my real life is my BFF, and I asked her before hand if she cared. So the BFF in my novel The Arrangement may seem very familiar to her (and to some extent her boyfriend in the book is reminiscent of her real life husband, because I think they are a super cute couple).
But besides that one very obvious example, there are lot of smaller ways I try and honor people I love in my writing. Examples?
Well, I gave my dad a little shout out in my newest work in progress, Standby. There’s a scene where the main character, Mira, is getting a performance review from her boss, Michelle. At one point Michelle says “Step up, throw some elbows, get your hands dirty.” That is an almost direct quote from the pep-talk my Dad would give me before every basketball game I played in middle school. He usually gave me this little speech right after ripping a book out of my hand and tossing it in the back seat, telling me to get my head in the game. Picture a cross between Jerry Garcia and Santa Clause (only nicer) doing that and you get the picture. Granted, the likelihood that my dad is going to read my erotic romance novel is slim to none. But still, the guy was a big influence on me and my love for reading, so it’s just nice to honor him even if he’ll never know it.
Another of my family members is recognized in Standby, my sister’s affectionate pet name for me as a child was butt-munch (I know, sweet isn’t it?) Well just so happens the main male character in the book has two brothers, one of whom uses the same nickname as my sister. I’m sure my other sister’s love for Star Trek will eventually find it’s way into a story, and Bon Jovi has gotten a mention or two in stories thanks to my brother’s status as their biggest fan.
Also, in almost every book/story I write there is a pivotal scene that takes place in a parking lot. Usually at night. Why? Because my darling husband proposed to me in a gravel parking lot, in the middle of the night, with no lights anywhere. That was one of the best moments of my life, and I like to immortalize it by making my characters’ first kiss or some other important event happen in a similar setting.
And of course, I like to sneak little pieces of me in every once in a while. Michelle’s love for The Princess Bride, mimosas, and really sweet coffee are all me. Mira’s penchant for stretching herself too thin and refusing help is me too, as is her love for Kenny Loggins (stop laughing).
But even though there may be elements of the people I love in my stories, in actuality these character kind of create themselves in my head. All I really have to do is put my fingers on the keyboard and they just start developing. At least when I’m lucky that’s how it happens.
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