Thursday, April 9, 2009

“Your characters seem so real, like people I have met.”

Are my characters real?

“Your characters seem so real, like people I have met.”

That has been mentioned by several listeners and readers to my stories. Truth be told, many of my characters are as real as fictional characters can get. Especially the most tragic characters.

A list of characters based on real people and just how close they were.

Karl’s Last Flight:

Karl – based on a retired navy fighter pilot I met who lived for adrenaline every chance he got, but was the most mild mannered, quiet guy in person….until he got onto a fast engine of any kind.

Esther – based on a real girl, although from Afghanistan instead of Iran, who endured almost everything my Esther did. She was rescued by Voice of The Martyrs missionaries and now works in other Muslim countries helping sexually abused girls find a new life.

Kharzai – an amalgam of people I met during my lifetime including several rather interesting people I knew at the NSA where I ran the military dining facility. One of those individuals it turned out, although it was never verified to me, was a real Iranian spy.

Liam – Made up guy, a kind of character I think I could’ve been if I were a classically trained singer turned MI-6 operative.

Gilles – never met him, and I’m glad.

Faisel – based on one of the elders of my church (although he is Korean and Faisel is Arabic). This guy is tireless, and the nicest man you’d ever meet.

Eagle One (aka Kevin Arlington) – based on Ollie North type.

Mojo Johnson – an amalgam of people I met throughout my time in and around the military. The back woods of Alaska have a bunch of them. Really impressive people just don’t upset them.

Lonnie Wyatt – she was an interesting character. A combination of a real person I know and a few extra parts I added here and there and her history. She was one of my favorites to write.

Harley Wasner – based on a guy I met in my day job at the VA. The dude walked into the Voc Rehab office where I was working on a printer and said, “I just retired from the military and need some educational assistance so I can train for a civilian job.” The clerk said, “OK. What did you do in the military?” The veteran said, “Kill people.” He had been in the Special Forces for 24 years.

Mike Farris – he was a guy that I imagined, but I would not be surprised if at least one of the pastor’s I have met over the years had a past like him.

Dan Martin – based on a guy I knew in high school. I don’t think the dude was really an East German spy, but he was a virulent atheist. And I don’t say that to discredit other atheists, he just was that way.
Paul Hogan – made up guy. But the kind of bloke I would love to have by my side in a desperate situation.

Hildegard Rottbruck – based on a lady that worked in the same building I did for a while. Never really got to know her, but she seemed pretty nice. Hilde got her looks and what little bit of her personality I remembered.

Mr. White – met a guy once with that kind of complex personality. Kind of like life was a Japanese anime card game of and the evil magic was real. He had a serious "Small Guy Complex". He reminded me of the guy in the old horror movie Willard. The dude really creeped me out at the time.
There’s an idea of where the characters come from. Not all just made up. And like I said, the most tragic ones are based on very real people. So to quote myself from earlier: I tried to write something close to reality.
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