Thursday, 3 November 2016

Where characters come from ...

I guess most writers of fiction are questioned about how they find their characters. Let's have a look at Jodie Sonko, the girl I'm writing about at the moment.
She started life when I was a little boy living in Widnes, seventy years ago. Mrs E lived across the road from us and was a sort of second mother to most of the kids in Norlands Lane. She lived, it seemed, in a hand-propelled wheelchair and the story we believed was that she had crashed her sports car on an icy road one night and lay trapped beneath it till the next morning. She didn't have children of her own but her door was open to the gang I played cricket (in the road) with, and she listened to our stories of digging caves and building bonfires and trapping rabbits ... so she's Jodie?
Not entirely. She's also my cousin Margaret, who lived in Knutsford. I used to cycle there from home most week-ends. Margaret was a few years older than me and always seemed to be having adventures. She was, I think, unaware of my existence, but I was amazed that someone so glamourous could have adventures and still be a girl!
I picked 'Jodie' for her name because I don't know anyone called that and Sonko became her family name because one of my best friends has that name and I borrowed it!
So, beware. Don't speak to writers if you don't want to have bits of you mixed up and put in a book!
Quite a number of my family and friends are featured in the Malinding village books. None under their real names, some have changed colour, some have changed jobs, some have been mixed up with imaginary characters, some would possibly never speak to me again if they knew. So, I won't end by saying 'You know who you are' because I hope you don't! The villains, of course, are purely imaginary. Of course they are ...

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