An incoming text message this week made me laugh - lots and lots.
It said simply - 'Tell me I'm not the taxi driver'.
The reason? A friend had read my most recent book, Shadows of Justice, after another pal suggested one of the minor characters in it bore more than a passing resemblance to him.
It didn't take long for Friend A to reach the same conclusion. The character in question adopted a faux Cockney accent and played the laddish wide boy - 'Cor blimey geezer etc etc..' yet still had the proverbial heart of gold.
I confess it is one of my favoured little tricks, to steal bits of people to pop into characters. It's such good sport it's irresistible!
Whenever I go out, I always take a notebook and am forever on the lookout for quirks, mannerisms, or tics of speech the like of which can be very powerful in creating living and believable characters.
My poor long suffering friends have become quite used to it. Now, whenever we're out together and the notebook appears, they'll say 'Uh oh, what's he seen this time?'
It's an author 's job to observe the world, is my standard handy justification. And I'm nearly always kind in what I write...
... except when there's someone, or something about them, that really annoys you, and you've never had the courage or chance to actually let them know...
Oh! You wouldn't believe how cathartic it is to put it in a book.
Naturally, I didn't directly answer my poor friend's inquiry. It's just not what writers do, is it? To confirm what people may read into our words.
However, I did tell him this - I liked the character so much, I've brought him back for another performance in the new book, The Dark Horizon.
I'm already excited enough about it coming out soon (June 1st, since you ask, and yes, I am now signing off the final edits and the cover, if you really insist on knowing.)
The thought of Friend A seeing the said taxi driver back in print is only making the anticipation even more enjoyable.