You Based that Character on Me!

Yes, I have based lots of characters on people I know.

I have a friend who asked me to put her in a book, I didn't use her name, just everything else about her: her looks, her personality, her dogs, her house. All of her friends said I did it perfectly. I followed up by putting her in a second book.

One of the main characters in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries is Nick Two John--his looks came from a local Indian whom I've never met in person, but have seen numerous times from afar.He called me once and I thought he was going to say something about that, but he didn't. He wanted to compliment me on what I wrote about a Pow Wow.

Bits and pieces of people I know or met along the way from appearance to personality quirks I've borrowed for my characters, and no one has ever recognized themselves.

But recently, my sister read my latest Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery, Violent Departures, and she mentioned on Facebook that I'd used her as a character. If I did, I certainly didn't do it on purpose.

I did use an incident that happened in one of the houses she lived in--she'd baked a cake and it was sitting on the kitchen counter and without anyone close by, it flipped off and landed upside down on the floor. Perfect, for what I was writing about.

Here's an excerpt about the character that my sister thinks I based on her:

The living room of Gladys Greenwalt’s house wasn’t anything like Stacey expected. Dolls of every kind from Cabbage Patch to historical figures crowded together in large and small curio cases and glassed-in cabinets. One built-in wall cabinet held every kind of Barbie doll Stacey had ever seen and many she hadn’t. The rest of the room was filled with color and clashing fabrics. Except for the blue plaid matching chairs which Stacey and Ms. Greenwalt sat in, the rest of the furniture was covered in orange, green and brown stripes. Pillows and afghans with flowers and polka dots were tucked in corners and draped over sofas and chairs.

Yes, my sister has a collection of dolls that is in a built-in glassed cabinet. But there aren't an other curio cases with dolls, nor is her living room filled with clashing fabrics.

I reread the description of Gladys Greenwalt and I can assure you, she looks nothing like my sister.

Sure the doll collection had a similarity to my sister's, but I really wasn't thinking about it when I wrote it. But it does show how everything sticks in the writer's mind and is liable to come out at the most unsuspecting times.

I love my sister, and I am happy she enjoyed the book.

Marilyn Meredith

Violent Departures by F.M. Meredith (yes, that's me) is available on Amazon on Kindle or in paper. 


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