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Kelly Cheek
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It's My Life

Something every author deals with is the question of who their characters are based on. Are they real people?

Well, I can’t speak for every author, but I can speak for myself. Some are real people, some are not.

In the case of In Restless Dreams, for instance, Fin is very much based on me. One obvious similarity is that he’s an author. Besides that, he’s an introvert, and he comes from a repressed religious background. All very much me! (That background is really delved into in the third book, When We Were Gone Astray.) He’s also something of a nerd, like me. For example, I have a movie quote or song lyric for almost any occasion, and that is reflected in Fin.

Suzy, well, she’s prone to depression stemming from the death of her husband and daughter. I lost my son in a car accident years ago, so I was able to write about that with some authority. But Suzy’s also a smartass, and that’s me, as well. I’ve been called worse by some who don’t appreciate my particular brand of smartassery (although I like to think that those people are just in that repressed category I mentioned above).

You know how they say to write what you know? After a few years of butt-time in a therapist’s chair, I know myself fairly well. So, basing characters on different facets of me, at least in part, makes it easier for me to develop their personalities, maybe make them seem more real. I hope that helps my readers to identify with them to some extent, appreciate their strengths and their foibles. (I’ve always loved that word.)

I’m not really sure what it means that two characters who are based so heavily on me actually fall in love. I’m sure the therapist in my past life would have a heyday with it!

As I said above, though, not all my characters are based on me. Some are patterned after others, some fashioned out of thin air. But even those who are patterned after me vary in the feelings I have for them. Jack Hobbes, for instance, the main character in JackSimile and the Phantom Fury, was based on certain facets of myself. I liked him, felt comfortable with him, but by the time I was finished writing his story, I was done with him.

But you know how, in real life, you just click with some people? Being an introvert, that’s kind of a rare thing for me. It happened with my wife, and with a handful of other people throughout my life.

When I was writing In Restless Dreams, it happened with Suzy and Fin.

I’ve written several books, and with only a couple of other exceptions (Profile and All We Hold Dear), they’ve been standalone stories. One book was enough for the situations and characters.

With In Restless Dreams, though, it was different. I enjoyed the premise, and I really enjoyed Suzy and Fin. The idea for First Light came to me before I was even finished with In Restless Dreams. When We Were Gone Astray followed soon after, completing the SpiritSense trilogy.

Well, guess what. As I alluded to in my previous post, I’m currently working on a fourth SpiritSense story, Undying Love. That’ll be book 4 of the SpiritSense trilogy. And I have an idea for a fifth.

I kind of jumped the gun in calling it a trilogy.

Anyway, for the past week or two, when I wasn’t working on my book marketing efforts, or getting ready to move out of the States, I’ve been outlining Undying Love. And now that the outline is complete, I’m actually writing it.

It feels good to get reacquainted with Suzy and Fin, delving deeper into their personalities, their adventures, and their romance. They’re waiting for me now. So, if you’ll excuse me, I need to put in some me time.