The Origins of a Literary Character

13 Nov

Someone asked me the other day where the inspiration for my character Eli Baker, in the Shadows Series, came from.

I suppose the answer would be from several people and characters I have known and/or seen in movies, but the main inspiration came from Charles Bronson and a movie called Death Wish.  In that movie, and in sequels, Bronson plays a character named Paul Kersey, and out of revenge for unthinkable things done to his family, Kersey sets out to wreak havoc on the local criminal community.

I liked that concept of uncontrollable rage AND the idea of roaming the underworld, wiping out the bad guys, and being so good at it as to be almost immune from harm or prosecution.

But I wanted that Kersey character to have more depth, and for depth I turned to a fictional police officer called Dave Robicheaux in the James Lee Burke novels.  I loved the way Burke’s characters were philosophical as they waded through the detritus of society.

And finally I wanted a paranormal/supernatural element to it all, so I put Eli Baker in touch with the spirits of victims of violent crimes, and in turn his battles were actually against Evil itself, an ongoing battle between Eli Baker (Good) and the Evil character.  Neither can be killed as they are locked in a battle which truly has no end.

Put it all together, heat at 350 for an hour, and you have my central character Eli Baker.


Do you really believe there is an Evil being, Bill?  And to that I say I am certainly open to the concept.  It would appear no stranger than believing in a character who represents ultimate good . . . aka God . . . so why not Evil?  It seems to me if you are going to hang your hat on the concept of God, you certainly should be open to the concept of Evil.

Was Ted Bundy mentally ill, or was Ted Bundy the personification of Evil?

How about the Green River Killer?

How about Hitler?

I guess we will all find out when we die.  Until then, I’m going to turn Eli Baker loose and let him do battle with Evil. I sleep better knowing he’s on the job while I sleep.  Lol  And he’s in one hell of a battle in “The Magician’s Shadow,” my latest due out in January.


How much longer are you going to write, Bill?

That’s like asking how much longer I’m going to breathe.

I am a writer.  This is what I do. I love creating.  I love communicating in this way. I love building a legacy of the written word.

Why in the hell would I stop?

Have a great week, unless you’ve made other plans!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

17 Responses to “The Origins of a Literary Character”

  1. Janine Huldie November 13, 2018 at 6:06 pm #

    Love all of your answers here, especially that last one as I am hoping you continue to write as long as I can indeed read it! Happy Tuesday now, Bill 🙂

    • Billybuc November 13, 2018 at 6:14 pm #

      Thanks a bunch, Janine! Have a great mini vacation at Disney World….32 degrees here this morning, but at least the sun is shining.

  2. Greg Boudonck November 13, 2018 at 6:27 pm #

    Great stuff Bill!

    I firmly believe that we cannot have 1 without the other… Good – Evil. We cannot have day without night, love without hate, joy without sadness, etc….

    Thanks Bill; I believe I will choose to have a good week. No sense in planning otherwise. You too my friend.

    • Billybuc November 14, 2018 at 2:46 pm #

      Thanks a bunch, Greg, and I wish, for you, a great week as well.

  3. Mike November 13, 2018 at 6:38 pm #

    Hi Bill – I am a little confused about the time stamps. But no the less another good Artistry with Words. I think this may be one of your best forums. And, “Why in the hell would I stop?” is a good answer.

    • Billybuc November 14, 2018 at 2:47 pm #

      Mike, I’m not sure what you are confused about. Did I make a mistake somewhere in this jumble of words?

  4. Manatita November 13, 2018 at 10:42 pm #

    Good vs evil and Eli Baker’ s character is good at the good. I did like the Bronsen series.carry ob Bro. Why stop?

    • Billybuc November 14, 2018 at 2:48 pm #

      No reason that I can think of, Manatita! 🙂

  5. 1authorcygnetbrown November 14, 2018 at 4:05 am #

    I’m with you! Writing is not a job, but a passion.

    • Billybuc November 14, 2018 at 2:47 pm #

      And what a passion it is, Donna!

  6. Sageleaf November 15, 2018 at 1:30 am #

    And we’re all so glad you write, Big Bro. We’re all so glad you invent characters and mysteries and even let your influence from your upbringing and Catholicism influence you in your novels. It’s so funny how life shows up in what we write.
    And it’s REALLY interesting to read the inspiration for your characters. So fascinating how you came up with them. 🙂 And happy Wednesday to ya!

    • Billybuc November 15, 2018 at 3:02 pm #

      Lil Sis, I long for the old days when I had nothing buy oodles of time to write creatively. I am currently trapped in the money trap, working my way out slowly. 🙂

      Hugs always

  7. Sarah Potter Writes November 15, 2018 at 2:39 pm #

    I heard somewhere that more people believe in the existence of the Devil than of God. It’s probably because God is meant to be the good guy but evil seems to have the upper hand in this world. I’m not sure if people are born evil but rather they’re variously born as victims of hormone levels in the womb, fluctuations in oxygen levels during birth, undiagnosed brain damage, mental illness, food intolerances, genetics, environmental pollutants, upbringing, and all sorts of influences we probably don’t even know that exist. Okay, some people don’t have a conscience and do horrendous things, and it’s convenient to blame the Devil. …I’m rambling. In denial. I had some very scary experiences when I was younger that at the time I couldn’t be explained away as anything but paranormal. I still can’t. The flip side of that was that I’ve had some very profound experiences, too. I think they came first, which then made me a target for attack by the dark side. Now I sound insane. You know I’m not. Will discuss my experiences with you some time, if you’re interested.

    Your book — now I’m reminded that I was meant to be reading my way through the series in a catch-up. Still intended. I think that Mister, who has kidnapped my tablet and is reading from its Kindle app, has your first in the series earmarked, after he has finished the Justin Cronin tome I’ve given him to read while he’s convalescing. He likes the cover of your book and has heard me mention your writing often enough, to now be intrigued.

    Wishing you a wonderful rest of the week, my dear friend 🙂

    PS Bill, whilst I think of it, you’ve still got the link to your old blog that comes up in comments. I keep meaning to tell you that. Some people are lazy and may click on that link, wanting to check out your blog and find themselves at The Life of a Happy Alcoholic, instead of Artistry with Words. You don’t want to miss out on traffic. And I’d hate to think that people are missing all of your wonderful posts.

    • Billybuc November 15, 2018 at 2:54 pm #

      Oh my, Sarah, now how do I change the link? lol That may be beyond my capabilities, or at least beyond my time constraints. I’ll put it on my to do list. As for your experiences with evil, I am fascinated, of course. We will have to sit down one day, have a cuppa, and you can tell me all about it. I would love that.

      Blessings to you dear friend!

      • Sarah Potter Writes November 15, 2018 at 3:21 pm #

        OK, Bill, I think this is how you do it…
        Click on these things, in the following order
        My Site > WP Admin > Users > Personal settings (I think you’ll find you have your old web address in the box underneath which are written the words in italics “Shown publically when you comment on blogs”). If you have, just change it. Let me know if that works. If not, I’ll think again.

        One day, my dear friend, we’ll have a cuppa over Skype or FB messenger, as I’m unlikely to travel to the US in the near future, unless I conquer my fear of flying and come into some money 🙂

      • Billybuc November 15, 2018 at 4:25 pm #

        Sarah, you are a genius. I just changed it and I think it was done properly. Thank you!

        Skype or Instant Messenger it will have to be. There is no way I’m sitting on a plane long enough to cross The Pond. 🙂

  8. Andrea Stephenson November 16, 2018 at 8:50 pm #

    Very interesting background to the way you developed Eli. I’ve never actually seen Death Wish, I was too young for it when it came out and I never did catch up, despite its notoriety. I’m not too sure what my view is on evil – it would explain a lot, but then when it comes to the nature versus nurture debate, I usually came down on the side of nurture as the greatest influence – one to ponder…

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