Sunday, July 28, 2013

Who’s who

Whenever she’s reading a book I’ve written, one of my sisters-in-law always asks who – amongst friends and family – a particular character is based on.

The truth is that most of my characters are fantastical concoctions and bear little resemblance to anyone I know. There are some exceptions. For example, some of the members of the writing group in Plotting for Beginners were tweaked people from a writing group where Jane and I first met. No-one recognised themselves. And one person, whom Jane and I are both fond of, said he was sad that he wasn’t in the book - when he was.

Also, there are a couple of minor characters in But I Told You… who are based on unknown people I frequently see around Bakewell. But that is just their looks – not their personalities.

The other exception is Dave. Many of my characters are based on him. I’ve told him more than once that he has far too many interesting traits to use up on just one character. So all of the following characters have something of Dave in them – Gus, Sam and Richard from Plotting for Beginners; Gus and Richard in Plotting for Grown-ups; Rob in Zuzu’s Petals; Sol in But I Told You Last Year That I Loved You.

Kit in Plotting for Grown-ups bears no resemblance to anyone but I did get the idea for his liking for wearing white shirts with suit waistcoats from a photo (of a less attractive man than Kit) in a Saturday Guardian.

I’ve reported the following interchange before, but you may not have seen it -

Sue: “You were the hero in my first three novels. You can’t expect to be the hero every time.”

Dave: “Of course. It would be too exhausting.”

Hero with hair -

aug 09 097

Hero without hair -

Dave Aug08


Anonymous said...

Well, YOU may have written totally fictional characters while borrowing the odd trait or two from the nearest and dearest but I've got the entire cast list made up of people I know in person and from the TV! Don't ever sell the film rights to Hollywood - I'll be so disappointed if they cast different people!

Sue Hepworth said...

Tell me more! I am intrigued!