Sunday, June 23, 2013

The magic of imagination



          I’m often asked by media and friends how do I create my characters? At last count I have somewhere in the neighborhood of seventy-five to eighty spread over my nine published and three unpublished books. These characters have histories and vivid personalities. Some are absolutely terrifying, some are adventurous, and some are tragic, yet beautiful. All of my characters have one thing in common. They are not modeled after any single person I know.

          I can’t say that one certain character has more of someone real than another character. My characters are a conglomeration of people I’ve known and associated with over the course of my life. This always perplexes my friends who often tell me that a certain character is just like them in every way. I think they are hoping their personality will be immortalized in story form and somehow that gives them recognition.

          I’ve even had an old girlfriend get angry with me because she thought a character in one of my novels was too much like her. I had to assure my ex that the psycho girlfriend in my novel was not based on her, but on at least eight different people, most of whom I went to college with. I’m not certain if she believed me or not even though it’s the truth.

          When I write I transform into and become my characters. I become the clairvoyant prostitute or the daring young man fighting an alien insect invasion. I am the disfigured 9/11 hero or the dignified young woman dying of cancer. I immerse myself in those worlds and live in the fantasy. It would be hard for me to pretend to be someone I know as a person, if that makes any sense.