People often ask if an author based his or her characters on real life people or on true events. For me, and I’m guessing many other writers, the answer is definitely yes…and of course, no.
|Me & my sweetheart at|
Disney's California Adventure last summer.
|My brother and niece keepin' life fun on Halloween|
It may be difficult to completely avoid your friends and family wondering in the back of their minds, “Was that person or part of the story based on me? There was that one time when I slipped while holding a goldfish and accidentally swallowed it…” I think it’s okay to let them wonder a little bit though. Writing can be tough work. We need to dig up the bits of humor and fun wherever we can find them.
However, making up a completely new person out of thin air would be impossible, at least for me. When I write, I feel it. I feel emotions and excitement and frustration. Every single character has a piece of me inside them, whether it’s obvious or not. I love to live inside their heads and really get a sense of what is driving them forward.
|Me & my BFF in High School.|
She was a major social butterfly!
|Me & my big sisters back in the day.|
Aren't they beautiful?!
|Me & my dad at college graduation.|
Even the “villain” in my story, Voss, holds pieces of my own life inside him. I may not be so cold and convoluted that I would threaten to shoot another human being like he would, but I’ve experienced pain, betrayal and anger during the rough patches in my life, just as he has.
|Me pretending to smooch|
my cute brother.
There is pain in life. Without it, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I wouldn’t have felt the aching drive to create stories and fill them with characters I can look up to, that give me hope; like Rayne, Sadie’s protector, who would choose his own suffering rather than let the slightest harm come upon her, or Sadie’s mother, Leena, who always wears a smile to cheer up those around her and make them feel welcomed.
|I drew a portrait of my Grandma for Mother's Day one year.|
When you bring tears to your mom's eyes,
you know you did good!
|Special occasion, my mom's 40th birthday.|
I have such great memories with my family!!!
Every one of my characters has some of the good, and of course the bad (because nobody’s perfect), from all of the joy and learning and amazing people that I’ve met in my life. This is what makes my characters real. This is what gives me the drive to live with them inside my head each day. And when they all come together to experience it all in one big, intriguing, fictional world…well that’s when you know you have a story worth sharing.