One of the questions I often get asked is whether any of my characters are based on real people. And the answer is yes. I donâ€™t think there is any way an author canâ€™t base at least some of the characters they write on people that they know.
But I have a few characters based explicitly on people that have entered my life. Iâ€™m not going to reveal all of themâ€¦.. I have to keep some of the fun of killing off someone who has annoyed me to myself.
The one I can reveal to you is the minor character who pops up from time to time in the small circle known as the Morning Club. That would be Chuck. And I even named him after the person he is based onâ€”my father.
Now, not everything about Chuck is my father. He didnâ€™t ALWAYS wear camo, but he had plenty because he was an avid hunter. One of the pictures I have of my father that I actually used on my character sheet is of him wearing it. A dear memory of time with my father is him taking me hunting. Instead of being vigilant in the search for the current animal, I was curled by a tree with a book.
My father was a man I always looked up to. He offered advice and the knowledge I have carried through the years. So many things changed after he passed away. And even now, he is mentioned frequently in conversations because he holds such a massive part in everyoneâ€™s heart.
On the anniversary of his death, I always had such a hard time. Maybe it was because of how we lost him (a car accident due to someone running a stop sign while looking at their phone) when we had just gotten through a major health struggle where we worried we were going to lose him (only the weekend before he was in the hospital due to heart issues). Or just the fact that my father was gone.
I wouldnâ€™t go near social media on this day because there would be posts about how much people missed him. I tried not to talk about the pain still ripping at my heart. Even the mention of Groundhog Day could bring tears to my eyes. Not to mention the sound of an ambulance.
And then, I started actually to focus on my writing, planning to publish my first book and make my dreams a reality. At first, when writing about Chuck, there had been no plans of him resembling my father (his name wasnâ€™t even Chuck). But as the story continued, I pictured him in my head whenever I wrote the scenes in which the character appeared. And each timeâ€¦ I felt the pain and loss getting a little smaller. Those conversations I long to have with my father are acted out on the page. Most never make it into the final book, but I keep them in a separate file.
Then, the time finally arrived to publish my first book. My book coach recommended that I pick a special day for this. And that is what I did.
February 2nd is now not only a sad day in my life but also a happy one. It is the day when my first ever book was released.
I still mourn the loss of the best man I have ever known, but it has gotten a little easier, knowing that it is also the day when my dream of being a published author came true.
And in every book, I make sure to include at least one scene where Chuck appears, wearing his camo and giving Samantha advice.