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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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