Monday, January 20, 2014

The Story Behind the Story

by Kate Collins

If you haven't seen "Saving Mr. Banks," I highly recommend it. The movie details the difficulty Walt Disney had convincing P.L. Travers to let him turn her book into a film. Emma Thompson is excellent in the role of the author and demonstrates how possessive we writers become of our characters. But what was most fascinating to me was learning who Mary Poppins was based on and why P.L. wrote about her. (Hint: it's about her childhood).

The movie got me to thinking about other classic as well as popular books and wondering why those authors chose the characters they did. How did Margaret Mitchell come up with the character of Scarlett O'Hara? Was Rhett Butler based on anyone she knew?  How about Suzanne Collins with Katniss? Who did Ian Fleming base James Bond on and why did he chose to write about a super spy?

I wish I had an equally fascinating story for my sleuth, Abby Knight, but honestly, she sprang fully formed into my mind one day. I had a vision of a 5'2" feisty, busty, 26 year-old redhead with a passion for flowers and justice, and a hatred of bullies. And yes, I do have a passion for flowers and justice, and a hatred of bullies, but trust me, 26, busty, and redheaded I am not. Feisty? Okay, I am that. Ask my friends what happens when I meet a bully.

If you could interview a famous author about a character in her or his book, who would you choose and why?