… (with your lead character)
One of the questions I was asked in a recent interview was how much of myself is in my lead characters. Well, in Wings At Dawn, the lead character Alexander Adler´s physical traits are modeled to a tee after a friend, his personality, however, is a combination of two people. This is the photograph that inspired the creation of Alexander:
For years I read about other writer´s sentimental attachments to the lead characters, sometimes identifying them much more intimately and intensely as real people, and thought this was all hogwash. Until I started writing my own books and developing my own leading men. Suddenly character development became a very real, sexy and intense experience! Being an author allows me to project some my inner desires and ideals onto the people, and gives me wings to travel along with them. Yes, as authors we are also master manipulators, deciding who lives, who dies, who falls in love with whom, and who gets to live a tragic life forever, and one has to be very careful not to carry over this controlling nature into the present reality!
When I finished writing Wings At Dawn, I broke down in tears. The desolation of saying goodbye to “my boys” for an indefinite time was so deep, that it spurred the plot for another book right away. I just couldn´t walk away from Alexander Adler without the prospect of a reunion and another adventure. I sit in cafes, train stations, or walk through Berlin constantly trying to see everything through his eyes, and wondering what he would do next., what details he picks up on. This is precisely why I never go anywhere without my writer´s journal either. If I can´t photograph what Alexander saw, then I have to write it down.
So when I sat down to finally draft Sunset Shadows, the thrill taking Alexander by the hand again and guiding him through the murky waters of another bizarrely complicated and twisted adventure, I fell in love all over again. Weaving the book together and bringing all three leading men back into my life is a joy.
Every character in the book is based on real people whose roles in society match those of the book, perhaps tweaked here and there, but yes, always a celebration of scars and flaws, of depth and emotional range, of frivolity and intensity. At the end of the day, there is a part of my soul in all my characters, whom I have come to love as my extended family.