Although all of the characters in my books and a good many of the locations are made up by moi, I do often get inspiration from real life. With individuals it can sometimes be a particular habit someone has or their way of speaking, for example, and with locations it might be as simple as a particular setting that I like the look of.
The latter is true with my latest Dykeman and Shapes book, A Legacy of Death, where the story is primarily set in the village of Brayfield. Although created by me, I did very loosely base it on an actual village that I know well.
There is a road that runs down into the real-life village from off the top of a ridge-way and, largely hidden by trees and hedgerows, there are a couple of old houses and a farm to one side on the high ground just before the road drops away. There was something about this setting I found appealing and so used it in my novel, though with some alterations to the specifics. The layout of the fictional village is entirely made up.
I did have to chuckle, therefore, when a friend approached me a bit hesitantly the other day to ask if Brayfield might happen to be based on said real-life village. She had spotted the similarity with the road layout and the houses and farm at the top of the hill.
What could I say? She’d got me bang to rights. So I admitted the real village had been the inspiration for Brayfield, though I stressed they very definitely aren’t one and the same. This might not have mattered, except my friend did, of course, have a second question already in mind. Are any of the characters in the book based on real people, she asked, with a distinct air of expectation. Rest assured, the answer to that one was a very definite no.
Image by RoySnyder at Pixabay