Ever come face to face with one of your characters?
It's only happened to me once, but it was the most surreal experience I've ever had.
It was a couple years ago when I belonged to a gym. I was working out with a friend and telling her all about this book I was writing. I adored the hero, an undercover detective who loved to work out at this old gym, boxing. He had black hair slicked back in a ponytail, sparkling blue eyes, a goatee, and a chain link tattoo across his bi-cep.
Forget the pretty boy types, I love bad boy, tough guy hero types!
So anyway, this wasn't an old gym, it was new, and there was no boxing ring, but new equipment with personal trainers walking around. Suddenly I hear this voice behind me...a voice I knew well because, hello, I'd created it. And now it was asking me if I needed help figuring out this new piece of gym equipment which was NOT like the old equipment I'd used in years past, in fact, I think I was on it the wrong way (but that's another story:-))
It couldn't be, could it? I must be daydreaming because I'd been spending so much time on this book. I turned around slowly, and literally gasped out loud. No freaking way! There stood my hero, in the flesh, as though I was a genie and had zapped him out of mind to stand before me. He frowned and asked if I was okay. I uttered a few grunts , my jaw still hanging wide open, my breathing all choppy. He backed away and smiled a little warily, then told my friend to tell me to take it easy, I didn't look so good, and he was around if we needed anything.
I was in total shock. He looked EXACTLY like the character I'd created in my mind, right down to the ponytail, goatee and the same tattoo on his bi-cep. How was that possible? Had I seen him somewhere before and his image was stuck in my mind? I don't remember every having met him. And I loved that character, so needless to say I kept following this guy around for weeks (all in the name of research, you know :-), studying him, trying to make my character even more three dimensional and real. After all, I had a real life model to go by now.
He transferred to another gym soon after. LOL! Gee, wonder why?
So my question is, have any of you ever met one of your characters in the flesh? What was the experiece like? What do you think we draw upon when creating our characters? Fantasies, people we admire, what? This mystery writer wants to know!