Kim has been doing her weekly piece on inspiration and in keeping with her theme so I decided to take a crack at what inspired/inspires my writing. Since this isn’t going to be a weekly guest piece, I decided to focus on the things that prompted me to write one book – Purpose since it is my most recent release.
Of course, as with all things there are many things that had a hand in the finished product: location, character traits, a strong supporting cast, all add to the flow and enjoyment of a book. To list everything that inspired the book would be hard thing. So I’ll focus on the main character and through him the majority of the plot.
Purpose came about in part because of my love of superheroes, fantasy, sci-fi paranormal, whatever you call it. I remember as a kid really watching Super Friends, Thundar the Barbarian, Space Ghost [and the other super hero cartoons that went with that one], but would leave if forced to watch Scooby Doo.
My favorite super heroes were those at the fringe. I never got into Batman, Superman, or Spiderman. When I was a kid, Batman always meant Adam West and the campy, ZAM! POW! series from the late 60’s. Sure in later years DC Comics returned him to his dark knight roots, but even then, I couldn’t shake those ‘groovy’ moves of Batman dancing with the beatniks or surfing against Caesar Romeo’s Joker wearing board shorts over his costume.
I had no interest in the big blue boy scouts – Superman – or Captain Americas. No, my favorites were a bit darker, a bit less noble. Wolverine, Ghost Rider, and Magneto [technically not a hero, but he did have his moments of heroism] these were the ones with not only cool powers, but they didn’t always use them for the good of others.
When the Watchmengraphic novel came out, that was right up my alley. If you’ve never read it or seen the movie – the graphic novel was better IMHO – the plot line starts with Rorschach talking about how one of their own was murdered. Rorschach had an absolute view of things, either it was right or wrong. Never mind that his methods in the name of ‘right’ bore a strong resemblance to what the actions he saw as ‘wrong.’ His ethics didn’t extend to himself if someone broke the rules first. Once that happened, justice, vengeance, punishment by any means necessary was required.
Rorschach’s influence is strong in the character of Gar, but have no bearing on Will. Confused? Read the book. The Purpose, the ancient spirit that took Will as its host, operated with a similar set of ‘rules.’ If someone killed an innocent, the host needed to seek vengeance on the guilty. Circumstances didn’t matter; there weren’t any gray areas. At least not once it made the decision that the victim was innocent.
The last influence on Purposewas the Highlanderseries. For me Will is Connor Macleod. Not an immortal fighting to be the last man standing, but that is what he looks like, how he keeps to the shadows, and how he is resigned to his fate. Duncan wasn’t one to enjoy the killing, but it was a part of who he was, who he had to be.
The same was true for Will. The Purpose made him seek vengeance, but he didn’t enjoy what he was forced to do. It was part of who he’d become, not what he wanted for his life.
Of course inspiration is not imitation and Gar/Will is really nothing like any of the characters who influenced his creation. But in writing this, I realized for the first time how similar the two characters are that gave me the spark of the idea for Purpose.Funny how that worked out.