‘All the characters in this book have no existence outside the imagination of the author, and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They are not even distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author, and all the incidents are pure invention.’ Standard disclaimer in many novels.
Since Playing For Keeps was published, I’ve had a few comments from people regarding who I’ve based my characters on. Some people are rather worried, or flattered, or perhaps frantically Googling ‘how to obtain a restraining order’. Conversely, some are upset that there doesn’t appear to be anyone based on them.
Don’t worry, it’s not about any of you. Really isn’t.
It can’t be, you see. As in the quote at the top, writers have to invent characters, places and scenarios. Otherwise we’d be biographers. I’d be lying if I said every smallest thing was fictional, but no character is truly a written representation of one real-life person.
It turns out some of them are unfortunately similar to real-life people. Some of them aren’t. That’s what happens. There are coincidences, which make me cringe and/or giggle when realised.
So, where did I find inspiration?
Ideas come from the internet, general life including attending local club rugby matches and going out for drinks with friends, plus some people-watching. Anywhere, in fact.
For the names of the characters in Playing for Keeps, at a London Scottish match I had a glance at the hospitality table plan. There were plenty of Celtic names there, so I wrote them down and later mixed and matched a few together. For any further names, I took a team sheet from another team and added a list of the most common first names. (I still have those lists somewhere, but I think the only one not used is ‘Fiona’. )
In PFK, and in PA, I also had to make sure some names were relatively commonplace, to fit into aspects of the plots.
It does help me keep focus to be able to ‘see’ my characters when I’m writing, so I’ve also started some boards on Pinterest, like this one for PFK. Are Tom and Sarah how you imagined?
So, that’s about it. Sorry to disappoint anyone.