There’s an idiot in the village. Every village has one and the Fens are no exception. Unfortunately, this time, that idiot might be me. You see, I have moved into a new flat which means that I’m able to walk to work for the first time in ten years. This is brilliant because I don’t have to donate an internal organ every time I fill up the petrol tank – take that you thieving petrol tax trolls – and I can protect the little furry animals in the environment by not taking part in the wacky races down the A141 every morning. I like to think that I am like the glamorous Penelope Pitstop but I rather think I’m more Mutley. Either way, it was only a matter of time before I was made into strawberry jam.
However, now I’m walking to work my little eccentricities are on show to the public. When I drove in I could sing along to Bohemian Rhapsody in the privacy of my own car to my heart’s content. I could twitch, poke my finger in my ear and mutter to myself as much as I liked, nobody was there to see me. There’s a purpose to my Tourette’s like twitching and muttering, as that is when I do a lot of the thinking behind the stories I write. While I was locked in a commuting duel with the knob-jockey in the BMW, I was inside the scenes of my stories and sometimes, I would have conversations with the characters.
The problem is now I’m walking to work, people can see me muttering. There’s one woman who passes me every morning, I think she’s a hairdresser. She isn’t impressed by my internal monologue judging by the filthy glare she gives me when she passes me by. But I don’t care if she thinks I’m mad, nor the others who cross the road to avoid me whilst in the midst of my personal gibbering because I’m within the world of the story I’m writing and busy getting to know the characters I’m creating.
To me the characters are everything, they are what create the story and it is their actions that drive the story along. Someone asked me recently where I get the ideas for my characters and up to a certain point, there is either a little of me, or elements of people I know, in them. The novella I am currently working on, called ‘The Hare and the Gallows Tree’ has a character called Adele. I don’t think she is me in quite a few respects but some of the situations she’s been in have happened to me. I reckon the character that is the closest fit to me is Linda from ‘The Ghost Hunters Club’, we’ve got the same sunglasses and we are both as acerbic as each other.
Some of my characters are based around people I know, not entirely, but they give me the spark I need to get the ball rolling. For example, Anna from The Ghost Hunters Club is based around a combination of friends I know who became single mothers when their partners left them and Detective Constable Saul Watson from ‘The Policeman Who Was Afraid of the Dark’ was inspired by a policeman friend of mine. After the initial impetus of influence, the character takes on a personality of their own and they cease to be the person I know in real life and they become a fictional individual in their own right. Apart from Stewart from The Ghost Hunters Club, who really was that dreadful and deserved the, ahem, sticky end that I gave him.
So how much of yourself do you put into the characters that you create?
To read more about the characters in my stories, you can visit my Amazon page. You never know who you might recognise…