Wait, what? Why is there a picture of Justin Timberlake as the featured photo for a character interview? Well because after I spent countless hours developing the characters for my book, I took to Google images to find their celebrity doppelgangers. I found a handful that all fit the description of Adam Parker. As the story progressed, and I got to know Adam even better, it became clear to me that he looks something like a scruffy, hardened JT. Anyway, I wanted to give the reader an image to go along with the verbal description. This post really makes a lot more sense if you’ve already read The First 1100 Words.
I took a very analytical approach to creating my book’s subjects. Each one has their own spreadsheet. Each spreadsheet contains 7 separate worksheets. These worksheets, Basics, Family-Religion, School-Work-Home, Psychology, Astrology-Physiology, Objects, and Other, each contain several cells that break down who the character is and what motivates them.
As I mentioned yesterday, this fictitious interview is unrelated to the plot of my book. It is designed to give you, the reader, additional insight into the characters that make up my story. Can you enjoy the book without ever reading this? Of course! Will the book be even better if you do read this? Absolutely. In this scenario, the writer, identified as HST, is doing research on ex-convicts for his book. Throughout other interviews that this writer has conducted, Adam’s name has come up a number of times. Knowing that Adam, identified as ARP, has quite a rich history, and meets the prerequisite as a former felon, this writer has reached out to him and asked if he will share some of his stories. It takes place before the events of my book, but after Adam first met Talia.
HST: Adam, please have a seat.
ARP: I’m sorry, I’m not sure I understand why I’m here.
HST: I am writing a book about the lives, past and present, of ex-convicts. Your name has come up in conversations with other subjects. Would you be interested in participating?
ARP: I don’t think so. I’m sorry. My life isn’t that interesting.
HST: Why don’t you let me be the judge of that? If I decide to use you, or any part of your story, in the book you will be compensated.
ARP: Compensated? As in paid?
HST: As in paid. Shall we begin?
ARP: You’re the boss.
HST: What is your full name?
ARP: Adam Roy Parker
HST: Any nicknames?
ARP: Nobody gave a shit enough about me to give me a nickname. Wait, a foster-father used to call me “A damn burden”.
HST: Sounds like a nice guy. You grew up in a foster home?
ARP: Several foster homes.
HST: What about your mother and father?
ARP: Dead and deadbeat.
HST: Your mother is deceased?
ARP: Cancer, she died in ’92, the day after I turned 5.
HST: I’m sorry, that’s rough. Your father was out of the picture by then?
ARP: I have no memory of the sperm donor.
HST: Do you have any other family?
ARP: I have 2 older twin sisters… well, half sisters. They went to live with their dad when our mom died.
HST: Do you see them often?
ARP: I haven’t seen them since I was 5.
HST: What about extended family?
ARP: My mother had a large family and they all hated my father. She chose him over them. I’m not sure they even know I exist. Can we change the subject?
HST: We can shelve it for now. Tell me a little about your education.
ARP: A little is all there is to tell. I dropped out in 11th grade after I aged out of the foster care system. I got my GED in jail.
HST: That’s honorable.
ARP: You’re assuming I had a choice.
HST: I’m sure having it has opened up opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise had.
ARP: Right, because everybody is tripping over themselves to hire a convicted felon with a GED and little else going for him.
HST: So what do you do to make a living?
ARP: Are you asking me if I’m still a criminal?
HST: No, I am asking you how you make ends meet.
ARP: A little of this, a little of that.
HST: Can you be more specific?
ARP: Off the record?
HST: For now.
ARP: I fix shit, cars, bikes, roofs, plumbing, and I’m damn good at it. Nobody will put me on their payroll but plenty of people are willing to pay cash in exchange for services. Everybody wins but it ain’t exactly on the up and up.
HST: Because you don’t pay taxes on that income…
ARP: Obviously. Look, I do what I can with the hand God dealt me.
HST: Understandable. Did you do time for tax fraud?
ARP: No. I did just over 2 months related to construction site thefts. Then I got busted in a stolen car less than a year after I was released.
HST: You were in it, but did you steal it?
ARP: Doesn’t matter. It scored me 2 more years.
HST: And a GED.
ARP: And a brother for life in Emmett.
ARP: My cellmate during that last stint, Emmett Bailey. He’s a scary son-of-a-bitch but I trust him with my life. He has my back like no one else ever has.
HST: Sounds like a good guy to have on your side. Do you think he would be interested in talking to me as well?
ARP: Hell no, let’s just say Emmett is a man of few words.
HST: Alright. Anybody else special in your life?
ARP: Yeah, every member of the fairer sex.
HST: Ah, a ladies man.
ARP: What can I say, I’m a Libra. Plus, women love a fixer-upper.
HST: They do. Got your eye on any one in particular?
ARP: I don’t like to put limits on my sex life… There is this one girl though, man. She makes an impression.
HST: How so?
ARP: I don’t know. She’s different. Hot as hell, but smart too. She has dreams, big ones, and tough, maybe the toughest woman I’ve ever met. She’s the total package… Did I mention hot?
HST: You may have mentioned it. This girl have a name?
ARP: No… I mean yes, of course, but I’m not telling you what it is. She’s really private. It’s a quirk of hers; she’s weird about it. No social media, no smart phone… she still uses paper maps.
HST: That IS weird. Why is that?
ARP: How she was raised I guess.
HST: You planning to pursue it?
ARP: I’ve never been much of a one-woman guy, but she gets me. She’s alone in the world too. There aren’t many people who relate to that. Plus, my vices are her vices, ya know? I don’t know though, she’s probably too good for me.
HST: Don’t sell yourself short. What do you mean by vices?
ARP: Our bad habits are compatible. I can be myself around her. Let’s leave it at that.
HST: She sounds made for you.
ARP: Maybe she was, but I couldn’t even take care of my own dog. She’d probably be better off if I kept my options open.
HST: What happened to your dog?
ARP: Hell if I know, gave Champ to neighbors before my first jail stay. They moved, presumably with my dog, before I got out.
HST: I’m sorry to hear that.
ARP: I’m sure he’s better off without me too.
HST: Well Adam, thank you for your time. This is a good start. I would like to talk to you again soon. Here’s my card.
ARP: Yeah, let me think about it. I’ll put this in my wallet. I’ll let you know.
HST: What’s that on your wallet?
ARP: Oh, my Mom gave this to me on the day she died. It’s her cancer pin. I’ve had it on me every single day I’ve spent outside the joint since.
HST: It’s nice that you still have a piece of her. Oh, I think you dropped your rolling papers there. One of your vices?
ARP: Sure yeah, tobacco. Thanks man.
HST: Well thanks again for your time. Hey, your hand alright?
ARP: Yeah, itchy palm. You know what they say about that. I must be about to come into some money.
I hope you enjoyed my first ever character interview! Thanks again to Jenny at Jenny In Neverland for the idea. If you haven’t read The First 1100 Words of my novel, check it out!