As I continue to work on the second book in the Human Cycle, a lot of people have asked me where the inspiration comes for some characters. With a long list to choose from, it’s easy to decide which one is the first I’d like to talk about, Jane Rivers, Captain of the Black Calico.
Although many things influenced who the character is, her character, what makes Rivers who she is in the book and in the story has come completely from my wife. Small in stature, huge in heart, my wife figures largely in the Human Cycle and its entire story arc.
During 2014, I’ve given my wife a handful by coming down with a lovely case of pneumonia and having a health scare… scratch that, a second health scare. A couple of years back I was at a beach and threw my back out. Now try to imagine the joy my wife experienced when she found out she had to hitch a ride almost 2 hours to where I was just to pick me up. As you can see, I’m a bundle of joy when it comes to injuries and illnesses because although I’m healthy 98% of the time, that remaining 2% is a doozy.
To put it lightly, the care she’s always given me is medal worthy... and that’s just how she takes care of me health-wise. As a wife she spoils me with good food and the best company. As a woman, she’s determined, brilliant, no-nonsense, funny, firm, and can intimidate people just by how good she is at what she does.
Oh and did I mention she’s beautiful? Yeah, she’s got big brown eyes, a wonderful smile, long brown hair I happily scratch so she can go to sleep and features quite particular to her which make her that much more special. In short, I’m a lucky guy to be able to have direct inspiration for a character who represents what I admire most in women: character, brains, tenacity, passion, inner beauty, perseverance, and guts (I’d say balls, except that such a statement is a misogynistic expression of valor, and although it applies, I’d rather avoid it for this example). Oh and she has a hell of a sense of humor, which is key to any enduring relationship.
Mind you, it wasn’t a conscious decision to write her into the story… it just happened; like our first kiss which just happened because we both went for a kiss on the cheek and popped kiss (still makes me smile remembering that lovely accident); like that lunch where she decided to humor me in college and sit with me, thus changing our lives. That’s because some of the best things in life just happen. No planning, no premeditation… just a chance occurrence.
As for why the character behaves the way in which she does, that’s all on my wife, she can be fierce, she can be maternal, she can be sweet and she can inspire me to bounce on my toes all day. She’s my best friend and my partner in crime and I’m lucky enough to be able to use her awesomeness to create a female character that embodies strength and beauty, without the need to sacrifice one or the other. To be honest, I just hope the character does justice to the source because she’s a tough act to follow.
5 and ½ feet tall and the size of a sun in the galaxy that is my life. Such is her and now you know.