I am often asked about the characters in my stories, whether they are based on real people or if they are fictional. I understand the question, as since much of my writing is “historical fiction”, it often means that the context of the stories are based on historical facts, events that have a basis in history, where real people lived and interacted with those events.
The answer to that question is “both”. Often the characters in my stories have some resemblance and basis to real people I have met and know that lived through the historical events being recorded. Other times the characters are purely created for purposes of the story. In almost all cases the names of the characters have been created, although there are times, I choose the names to honor people that I know.
So, for instance, the main Character in my first series is a man I have named Glenn Hitch. There is no one by that name who experienced the events as I portrayed them, but I deliberately chose the name Glenn to honor my grandfather, whose name was also Glenn. Much of the description of Glenn is based on my memory of my grandfather’s personality. While he never served in the military, my character in my story has the deep faith of my grandfather. He was of Dutch ancestry, and his farm is the setting for several of my novels.
Other names and even some of the characteristics of the characters are also based on people I know. So another example of this is the two boys who are climbing on the Harridan Wall in England and are part of the discovery of the scrolls in my latest story “Eyewitness – Tears of the Saints” are based on two of my younger brothers, James and John, and the physical descriptions of them are how I remember them as young boys, and their mischievousness is exactly how I remember my two brothers. I could envision both of my brothers doing exactly what my characters did.
In one of my stories, “Intervention”, one of the secondary characters is based on a real person. I dedicated Intervention to Allan Tibbels. Allan Tibbels really was a quadriplegic man, who I had the great privileged of knowing and serving with in one of the churches we both attended. He really did work in Sandtown, a disadvantaged area in Baltimore MD, where he moved to work among the poor and bring the love of Christ to that area in Baltimore. He did give up a comfortable home in Ellicott City and moved to the close to ghetto area, where he was instrumental in bringing New Song Church to that area, and with Habitat for Humanity helped change the lives of hundreds of families in that area. So much of that part of the story in “Intervention” is real.
In that same story, Minh is based on the story of a young Vietnamese man who had served as a translator for the Billy Graham crusade to Vietnam, and who escaped Saigon on a boat with three disillusioned Viet Cong soldiers who fled the fall of that city and were part of the first boat people to flee to Thailand. I heard that story during one of the mission meetings I attended in the 1980’s. I never knew the name of the actual man, but the story I was told became part of the drama that is found in the story.
There are many other characters in my stories that are not based on real people. But I have had the privileged of meeting and hearing many people’s stories and those stories have aided me greatly in developing many of the characters in my novels. But as so many will say, “the names of the characters have been changed to protect the innocent and the not so innocent, and no person should assume that I am talking about them.” Of course many of the events are also of my own creation, and are not tied to the experiences of any person.
Finally, in my latest Novel, “Eyewitness – Tears of the Saints” the characters are based on the very real people found in the gospel of John. The scripture does not name the blind man. But historical tradition does give him a name. “The restored one” or Celidonius, is how history remembers him. I chose to give him the name “Cain” whose name harkens back to “the Marked One” who was banished by God for the first murder ever committed. I chose the name because of being “Marked” and the blind man was “marked” by his blindness. So, I hope this blog answers some of the questions of readers related to my characters.
In my next blog I will be discussing some of the theology behind the “Spiritual Conflict” setting for my novels. I will discuss why I selected Ephesians 6:12 as the theme verse of the first series, and also why I chose to call that first series “The Steward Series.” I will also discuss why I have chosen the new series to be called “The Eyewitness” series. I hope to answer some more of the questions related to my books.
If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com. Also please drop by and listen to my podcasts that can be found on www.charlesadeandrade.com where I also try to cover other topics related to my novels. Also, you can support my writing efforts by buying one of my books on www.scribblersweb.com or at www.southernpenbookshop.com or at Amazon or anu other book store.
Thanks for reading this. Let me know if you like the additional insight into my books. Merry Christmas everyone!
Grace and Peace,
Charles A de Andrade
My mother is turning 93 years old. I was born when she was only 25, some 7 years after her marriage to my father. Some 67 years later I look backwards and realize that all of those years seems like a few blinks of one's eyes.
My father died when he was only 84 years old. I was 18 years younger then, but as I look backwards, the years since his passing seem much fewer than they actually are. His 84 years also appear to be a mere flash of light.
Recently my mother asked her children, to come look at all of her photo's and to take what we might want. She is preparing to take the journey that we must all take, unless the Lord returns and changes us all in "the twinkling of an eye". As I walked through the memories captured by those photo's I saw many of my relatives that have already stepped out of this world's time, and wait the restoration where as the hymn writer said, "when we've been there, 10,000 years bright shining as the Son, We have no less days to praise His Name, than when we first begun." What a simple but incredibly effective way to speak of eternity versus our current experience of time. But those pictures captured for me events in each of those relatives time line. Even the pictures of the much younger me, are a chiseling of a second in time, displayed for me to remember.
When I read the Bible, I see whole people's lives summed up in several key events that marked their passage through their own appointed time. For many, perhaps only one event is mentioned for others maybe a dozen or more. Yet, even for Jesus only three years of his life was the main focal point, with only a glimpse of his birth and early years before Joseph returns from Egypt and settles in Nazareth. And then there is the brief glimpse of him as a young teenager, going to the temple and staying behind in "His father's house", while Mary and Joseph assume he is with each other or other relatives and neighbors that had accompanied them to Jerusalem. For most of his first 30 years of life, little is seen or heard, except for his submission to his earthly parents. John, the apostle and writer of one of the gospels writes, that of Jesus life's activities were fully examined and written upon, there would not be enough books in the world to cover it all. What an interesting way to explain the significance of those brief 33 years of time.
Time for me as a writer is an incredibly important part of the creation of the stories. Most of my stories take place in particular times, with firm borders established by the years being covered. The characters age, and mature during the stories. Truly effective writes, like JR Tolkien and CS Lewis, age their characters in and through their experience of their lives.
CS Lewis in his science trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength), as well as in his children's books "The Chronicles of Narnia" does an exceptional presentation of the experience of time in his characters. JR Tolkien in both the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy also displays an incredible grasp of the importance of time. I was especially touched by Tolkien appendix in the final book, where he tells the story of the rest of the history of the characters that were a part of the "Fellowship of the Ring", after the conclusion of the main story. I have marveled at his ability to truly bring the story to a close, with the display of the closing events in each of the characters time in their world of middle earth.
So for me as a writer, time is one of the key ingredients I am always mindful of. I use often the technique of looking backwards in memory at events that shaped the characters current actions. I believe that past experiences in time, often help mold who we are today, but not necessarily define us, unless we allow those experiences to. So if you are a writer, check out your use of time and how the story develops through time. It could become a key part of your creative vehicle, as it is a common experience for all of us that you can connect with. I close with one of my favorite lines paraphrased from the bible: Lord, help us to number our days/time correctly.
I look forward to talking with you more shortly. Please do follow me at charlesadeandrade.com, or at scribblersweb.com where interviews, other stories, and upcoming events and my books are found. Feel free to drop me a note as well there, and I will be happy to communicate with you.
Until the next time...
Grace and Peace,
Charles de Andrade
Today, Charles is the proud father of three daughters, the grandfather of eight wonderful grandchildren and one step-son, and he and his wife Gloria live in Summerfield Florida.
Charles is the founding member of Scribblers, a group of Christian writers, who meet for encouragement, and review of each members writing. Scribblers also serves as a network of resources for aspiring authors.
More information is available at scribblersweb.com.
Charles currently serves as a board member for Northampton Press/Don Kistler Ministries, publishing Puritan works. He also serves as the President for Bee Natural Products, a company working with bee keepers and marketing their products. More information is available here.
He is currently working on the second series of books examining the miracles of Christ from the view of the individual receiving the benefit of the miracle. The first book, "Tears of the Saints" is completed and work on the second in the series is underway.