Here’s why: sometimes the connections between the people in my life and the characters in my book are so extreme that even I can’t believe the coincidences. A case in point is what happened with Mariachi Murder. The protagonist is a mariachi player. He has a brother who’s named Joey.
Joey only plays a small role in this first novel, but in the second novel he’s going to play a bigger role. So he’s been on my mind a lot. His brother gets him into all kinds of trouble, as mariachi players sometimes do. This is all well and good except for one thing: the Recreational Center where I swim hired a lifeguard named Joey.
I didn’t think about this the first time I met Joey. I didn’t even think about it the second time I spoke with him. But then one afternoon as I was swimming I realized, oh, yes, that’s Andy’s brother’s name. And Joey the lifeguard, though a bit younger, looks quite a bit like Joey the character. How very odd.
I would forget about this fact from time to time, and then I would run into Joey the lifeguard again and not be able to get the character/person connection out of my head. Finally I told him that I could remember his name because I had used the same name for a character in my book. The “real” Joey laughed. In the meantime I started obsessing about the situation. “I really ought to bring Joey a copy of that book,” I thought to myself. “He’ll think I’m really weird,” I also thought.
Finally I couldn’t stand it any longer and brought Joey a copy of the book. He was both pleased and flattered! He hasn’t started reading it yet, but I’m sure he’ll get to it eventually. The funny thing is that Joey the lifeguard would have never in a million years imagined that the writing teacher who swims at his pool writes murder mysteries! More amusingly still, Joey the lifeguard hasn’t ever read a murder mystery before. This will be his very first one. Naturally, I’m hoping it will be the first of many and that he wants all his friends to read all about “him.”
I’m waiting to see how Joey reacts to this novel, but I know already that I’ll have to give him a copy of the next one as well. It’s even more dramatic. In the sequel his brother accidentally causes him to suffer. It’s never good to have a brother who’s a fictional detective, but I’m hoping it’s quite amusing to have a fictional counterpart.
In another couple of months, I’ll ask Joey.
P.S. I’ll be happy to send a free e-version of Mariachi Murder to the first person named Joey who asks for one!
*D.R. Ransdell is an author in Tucson, Arizona where she can enjoy good weather most of the year. She loves to travel, so travel is often a feature in her writing. She plays the violin in a mariachi band, which led to Mariachi Murder. D.R. lives with several lively cats who give her plenty of reasons to procrastinate. So far the felines have brought in plenty of dead lizards, but no dead bodies—yet. Please visit her at http://www.dr-ransdell.com or watch her author videos at http://goo.gl/2Ks05F.