Are my characters based on real people? The quick answer to this is “no.” However, it’s a bit more complicated than that. While none of my characters are based directly on someone, several are named after real people and several are representative of people who existed.
In addition, all my characters feel real to me, so they’ve taken on a life of their own.
Named After Real People
- Lucretia – named at Lucretia Mott
- Dorothea – named after Dorothea Dix
- Alice – named after Alice Roosevelt
- Steven – named after Stephen Colbert
These characters were named after other fictional characters:
- Hettie – named after Hetty Wainthropp
- Gardner – named after Samantha’s uncle in the American Girl historical books
- Cornelia – named after Samantha’s aunt in the American Girl historical books
Finally, Gwendolyn (Olive’s dead mother) was inspired by a client I had when I was developing Angel of Mercy.
Some characters are based on people who existed during the early 20th century. The most obvious of these are Hettie, Charlotte, Bessie and Olive who represent nurses who served overseas, Freddie who represents the men in the medical corps, and Geoffrey and Alfred who represent soldiers.
Others are a bit more obscure.
Amelia “Mama” Bartlette: Amelia represents many types of people. She represents anxious/depressed people, Victorian mothers who lost multiple children and Victorian widows. In addition, her children call her Mama because Angel of Mercy was inspired by the My Chemical Romance song “Mama.”
Olive: Olive represents all the nurses who died in the Great War.
Maeve: Maeve represents all the victims of the 1918 pandemic.
Do you prefer characters who are based on real people, or do you prefer characters that are completely original?