I was genuinely shocked when my best friend texted me that she was simply envisioning me in a black wig for the character of Dainy while reading The Duchess Quest. “How am I anything like Dainy?” I demanded at the phone.
My sister, wading into the pool with me, insisted, “You’re exactly like Dainy! Innocent, sweet, and curvy too.”
Curvy, I’ll give her. By the time I wrote my debut novel, I was so sick and tired of reading about skinny heroines, I knew I had to break the mold and make my MC on the shapely side. But I’d thought that was where it ended. I don’t have black hair or green eyes. I’m not royalty. I wasn’t raised in a bungalow on the beach and I’ve certainly never had more than one man after me.
I turned to my sister. “Why would anyone think I’m as innocent and naive as Dainy? The character I’m most like is…Jon.” I didn’t realize it until I said it aloud. But, by God, I was most like Jon Cosmith. Not that I’m a sexually promiscuous Casanova or a wanted thief, mind you, but my head is often in the gutter and I’m usually looking for the personal advantage in a situation.
“Then your mind is like Jon’s,” said my sister, “but the way you act to all of us is like Dainy.” She proceeded to point out that ‘Dainy’ and ‘Caity’ are just 2 letters apart. I tried not to panic. The truth really was that I wanted to spell her name Daney, but was afraid people would pronounce it as “Danny”. Dainey was too many letters, so I took out the ‘e’. I swear, it was an accident that both our names are five letters long, with three of the same letters in the same places.
It was unintentional. I had no desire to write myself into any book. But I continue to be amazed at the number of friends who ‘call me out’. “She is SO YOU!” And here I am, insisting that SHE IS SO NOT.
I’ve seen some novels on the market where the main character’s name is fairly similar to the author’s. And I’ve wondered why, whether it was intentional. Fellow writers, what about you? Have you ever purposefully – or accidentally – written yourself into a book? How close to home are you willing to let your characters and storylines get? 🙂