Some of the characters are truly fictional and might have some quirky characteristic of someone I know personally that enhances that character in some way, but there are others - like Brian - that are more a direct reflection of someone specific in my life.
Brian is the main male character in my novels. He is a recreation of a boy I met when I was 16 years old and I lived in Germany.
Our church had gone on a ski retreat to Garmish, Germany, and as I recall, we were only there for about five days. When the bus I was on (with my sister and my best friend Sherry and all the other kids from our church) pulled into the parking lot of the resort hotel we were staying at, Brian's pulled in as well. From my seat on my bus, I saw him through the window sitting on his bus and from that very moment I knew I had to "hook up" with that boy for the duration of this ski retreat. Fortunate for me - he was thinking the same thing about the girl on that Stuttgart bus. And ... we did. We were together the entire time and I fell in love with this special boy. I only ever saw him one other time (another church retreat - where we were together again for another 5 days). He was the boy I used to say that ... I loved ... one week at a time.
And - while I was only 16 years old at the time - I DID love this boy. If we had lived in the same town in Germany we would have definitely been together. But, we didn't. He lived on an Air Force base (K-town) and I lived on an Army (Robinson Barracks, Stuttgart) base many miles apart. We weren't even able to easily call each other. We wrote letters, but eventually we lost touch.
Brian is the boy from my youth that the Brian in my novel is based on. He is not the boy I dated the longest or kissed the most, but he is the boy I loved the hardest. Maybe it was because he loved me too.
This is what he wrote on the back ...
I keep this picture of Brian close by when I am writing my story, as the story I am writing is a teenage love story and the love I had for this boy was so strong and pure, I am able to draw from that time, those experiences, that boy - that love - to help tell Laney and Brian's story.
I also keep these two pictures close by.
These are pictures of my husband (Billy) when we first met. He was twenty-two at the time. The love I had for him and still have for him - also drives and influences the plot and Brian's character in my books.
I'm so lucky to have known Brian and have the vivid memories of these two special boys (and some others) to lean on to help write Laney's story. But, more than that - I am so lucky they are a part of my story - my life.