Unexpected Characters #2 – Real People

Stories are full of characters. Some shine in the spotlight, while others only get mentioned once or twice. And those in Jaspa’s Journey are no different.

Jaspa, the star of Jaspa’s Journey, as imagined by artist Brad Hughes

Most of the characters in Jaspa’s Journey are straight out of my head, of course. Yet in-keeping with the core concept of the books – that everything is as real as possible – quite a few of those characters have closer ties to the actual world than you might think.

Some of these links are quite vague. Such as a character simply being named after someone I know. Or perhaps named using the language local to where the story is taking place (this is how the ship in The Hermit of Kennecott came to be called the Shah Shakée).

Taking things a step further, the behaviour of some characters is loosely based on that of a friend or relative.

Little Venice in London, where Jaspa and his friends first meet Elwood Carn in The Pride of London (photo: Rich Meyrick)

Very occasionally, one of my characters borrows a real person’s name and qualities. Take the traditional English gentleman, Elwood Carn, who appears in The Pride of London. In terms of accent and appearance, he’s based on Noel Coward, the famous English playwright and actor (particularly successful in the 1920s and ‘30s), who was exactly the sort of person I was thinking of when I imagined this character. I even borrowed his name, since Elwood Carn is actually an anagram of Noel Coward.

In The Hermit of Kennecott, we advance another step. Not one, but two of the McCarthy residents mentioned (Neil and Tim) really exist, exactly as described in the book.

The former angle station on the Bonanza Mine tramway is today home to Tim, as mentioned in The Hermit of Kennecott  (photo: Rich Meyrick)

And in Jaspa’s upcoming adventures in Venice, I take the inclusion of real people to a whole new level… but you’ll have to wait to see exactly how!

The above post is taken from this month’s Fiction Meets Fact Newsletter. To receive future newsletters in their entirety (together with a Free Jaspa’s Journey Booklet including the short story Freefall over London and Jaspa’s Journey images to colour), click on the image below.

Upper middle grade readers can now travel the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first four – The Great Migration, The Pride of London, Jaspa’s Waterloo, and The Hermit of Kennecott – are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.

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