Where Do You Get the REAL You Put Into Your Characters? Guest Blogger: Sandra Tilley
A question readers often ask me is "Are your characters based on real people?"
My answer: yes and no.
Of course I take personalities, physical features, mental qualities, etc., from people I know, but I also rely on the ideas in my head. I don't choose a person to be a character in my book; a character chooses me. Then I get to sort through my options and decide who suffers from low self-esteem or who can toss a football fifty yards or who gets to be the skinny, hot chick.
I never thought about anyone confusing my characters with real people–until recently. While scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook, like I do about a hundred times a day, I saw a notice about my high school reunion. Over the years I've connected with some high school friends via social media with no mention of a reunion. Until now.
In my debut novel, The Ghost and Mrs. Miller, Libby Miller joins the committee to plan her twentieth high school reunion. On the committee are her dead husband Neil Miller's childhood friends Eli and Jesse who are former high school stars–on and off the football field. However, no amount of association with them rubs off on Neil. He remains an asterisk. Cocky, good looking football players and guys who wish they were, are staples in high schools. And my high school was no exception. My experiences with stars and asterisks, combined with my imagination, created my cast of characters, including cocky football stars and those who aren't.
I wrote about a class reunion to give Libby the chance to reconnect with old high school love interests, and to reunite old friends mourning Neil's loss. The combination of events provide opportunities for Neil's ghost to meddle in their lives and elevate his asterisk ranking to the star status of his two best friends.
The Facebook post called for volunteers. I wondered if the same high school hierarchy would reign, or if time will be the great equalizer. Curiosity made me select the box marked Yes, I'll be there. I'm a little nervous about the reunion meeting. Stars and asterisks will be there. Wonder if they'll ask if my characters are based on real people? I guess it depends on if they read my book.
Where do you get the real you put into your characters?
Learn more about Sandra Tilley and her books at: SandraTilley.com