As an author with two published novels and a third one on the way, people always ask me what inspires me in my choice of characters. Okay, so no one really asks me that, but if someone did, this is what I would tell them. Everything and everyone is fair game when it comes to creating, developing and naming those who show up in my books. Mean girls from middle school, unrequited crushes from high school, the odd colleague from a part-time job, the woman in my water aerobics class; any and all of these people from my past and present might show up in one of my books. Maybe even as a main character! Random expressions, physical quirks, silly stories and vague recollections become the stuff that my novels are made of. If you are in the least bit memorable, and believe me that’s not all that easy to be, as I don’t even remember what I ate for breakfast, there is a solid chance that you could recognize yourself in one of my stories. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll change bits and pieces, as the last thing in the world I want is a lawsuit for defaming your character or ruining your reputation. You’ll probably have a different name, except for one of you who left such a huge gaping hole in my poor broken heart when I was 22 that I used your real name so take that, you jerk. But for the most part, blondes become redheads and brunettes might be bald. Canadian accents will be modified to a Texan twang and you might even change genders!! But you will be there, hiding in plain sight, in all your glory for the world to see and enjoy or snicker at.
Please don’t take this personally. It’s not you, it’s me. Seriously, I have been around the block a time or two and it’s definitely not my first time at the rodeo if you catch my drift. I have lived and loved and had my share of wins and more than a few losses. But for whatever reason, you made an impression on me, at one time or another and it’s my job as a writer to get it down on paper. I can’t guarantee you that my memory is all that accurate. Actually, it’s not, not at all. So maybe you weren’t really that mean or that dreamy or that weird, or maybe you were. Somewhere in the dark and dusty recesses of my brain, a small part of you lives on and once it’s in a published piece of literature, you will be immortal. You should really be thanking me instead of threatening litigation. Who doesn’t want to live forever?
So go on, live your life and follow your dreams. Just remember, if we have crossed paths in the past, or ever do so in the future, you should read all of my books at least once just to see if you or some part of you made it into my story. And you should probably recommend my books to all of your friends and family and colleagues to read. It’s entirely possible that one of them might recognize you, even if you weren’t able to do so. When that happens, don’t even try to deny it. Learn to cultivate a mysterious smile or a nonchalant shrug. Your cover’s been blown and flying under the radar is no longer an option. You’re welcome!!