Inspiration is a fun subject for a writer. Discussing what inspired and helped bring their latest creation/child into being is a very satisfying prospect indeed. I’m going to discuss what inspired me to write Leonardo di Caprio is a Vampire. But first I’d like to touch on a different sort of inspiration, also having to do with a child of mine, albeit not a literary one.
When we name our characters, we can draw on a great many things for inspiration, from the people in our lives to the people we wish were in our lives. Literary and cinematic role models often fuel our imaginations when it comes to names. There are mindboggling choices we narrow down into one which defines who our character is. So it is with children. Their names stick with them for all their lives and can very often contribute to who they are and who they become. Over twenty-one years ago, I gave birth to a daughter. At that time, I was heavily influenced by the world of Doctor Who, especially the Fourth Doctor and his companion. I named my daughter Sarah, after that companion, Sarah Jane Smith. Little did I know that years later, not only would she embrace the Doctor Who fandom, she would delve into it with even greater fervor and devotion than myself. Or was it simply meant to be? Did her name help to define her interest, or was the spark that was present in her at the time of her conception lead me to the right name?
Which makes the death of her inspiration difficult to take. I just learned that Elisabeth Sladen, aka Sarah Jane Smith, passed away from cancer. I read a most wonderful loving tribute to her by Fourth Doctor Tom Baker. And although she is gone, I cannot help but feel that a piece of her lives on inside my daughter. That is inspiration at its finest. Rest in peace, Elisabeth. You will be missed.
My inspiration for Leonardo di Caprio is fairly easy to figure out, to some extent—obviously it has something to do with the actor. It happened last year when I took Sarah to see Inception. I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to go, but Sarah did, and since she’d been good about going with me to see Sorceror’s Apprentice (twice), I gave in with good grace. As we were going into the movie, I couldn’t help but think about other Leo films I’d seen, which was when a voice in my head told me that Leonardo di Caprio is a Vampire.
I’ve learned over the years not to ignore random voices that I hear because they are characters waiting to have their stories told. Not being in a position to write the words down, I held on to them and repeated them to myself throughout the movie. By the time I left the theatre, I knew there two men involved and I needed names. The inspiration for the first name came from the movie Inception itself. Cillian Murphy’s character name was Robert Fisher. That name is heard a lot during the film; it stuck with me. Robert Fisher became Fisher Roberts. On the drive home, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and I was looking for inspiration for the second man’s name. I saw a billboard that spoke of hunting. Now I’m not a fan of hunting, but the name Hunter leapt out at me, and I liked it. I added Long to make Hunter Long. It wasn’t til long after that I realized what I had unconsciously done – Hunter and Fisher. Just a coincidence, I assure you, unless it was done on a subconscious level.
Another great source of inspiration is art, and also photography. We see a picture and our fertile minds begin to create a story. If the picture is of a hot sexy man, so much the better. Inspiration is anything that kicks-starts our imaginations and gets our creative juices flowing.
And sometimes inspiration is a tug at our hearts.
'Twas the night before Halloween, and Fisher Roberts wishes it was over, not being a fan of this or any other holiday. But he tolerates it because his roommate/best friend Hunter Long takes a childish glee in all things Halloween. And Fisher has a vested interest in keeping Hunter happy. If only he could find the nerve to tell his childhood friend that he loves him, and has for a very long time.
Fisher thinks Hunter is carrying things a bit far this year, though. First Hunter claims to be a vampire, and he just won’t let the silly joke go. Then he forces Fisher to go to a costumed Halloween party which Fisher would rather avoid, especially when he realizes where it’s being held, and whose house it is. Things at Fisher’s job might just be going south, too, when he receives a mysterious summons to report to the editor’s office the next morning. And then Fisher goes and does something stupid—like kissing Hunter!
Bad leads to worse when Fisher ends up at the Halloween party from Hell, and he learns something that threatens to destroy his and Hunter’s relationship forever. Running from his fears, Fisher encounters a strange young man with an unusual resemblance to Leonardo di Caprio, who shows him things he never realized before, truths about his life and the people in it.
Can Fisher find his way back to Hunter, and can he find the courage to do what his heart wishes?
"Did you know that Leonardo di Caprio is a vampire?"
Fisher Roberts stopped in mid-chew of a mouthful of fibrous cereal to cast a wary, disbelieving glance at his best friend and roommate Hunter Long on the other side of the table. Wary, because he wondered what in the world Hunter was going on about so early in the morning. Disbelieving, because he only had so much time for breakfast before he had to get going to work, and he had a bad feeling that Hunter was trying to eat into that time. Why he wanted to do that was beyond Fisher. Of course, a lot of things about his roommate were beyond Fisher, despite the fact that they’d been friends since they were—well, too young to actually remember how long they’d known each other. But for as long as Fisher could remember, he and Hunter had been best buddies. And he’d learned over the years that, with Hunter, longevity did not equate to knowledge-ability, far from it.
Now, Fisher could react in one of two ways. He could ignore his roommate and keep eating. Pretend he’d heard nothing. But from past experience, that would only cause Hunter’s performance to escalate. Which would entail taking more time to decipher what he was saying, and in the process make Fisher even later to work. Or he could simply bow down to the inevitable and give in by asking him the question he was doubtless waiting to hear. Even if it brought about that smug smirk he was so fond of wearing.
Fisher finished chewing, swallowed, and managed not to roll his eyes as he reached for his juice to kill off what was left in the glass. Waste not, want not. "What do you mean?"
Hunter Long might be six foot two and possessed of a body that many a male model would kill for—at least that’s what Fisher heard the girls who flocked around him say—with the palest of blue eyes that twinkled all the time, and a smile that could and did light up a room. But honestly, he had the capacity to be an overgrown child at times, and this was one of those times. Fisher chalked it up to it being that time of year.
"Well," Hunter replied, "look at him, going on forty, and he looks just like he did what, fifteen years ago? It only stands to reason he must be a vampire. They never age, you know. I mean take a look at us. We’re almost his age, but over the years we’ll grow up to be little old men and he’ll still be playing sweet baby-faced guys even when he’s collecting social security, know what I mean?"
"There are no such things as vampires," Fisher made his typical logical reply, "and just because it’s Halloween tomorrow night, and you’ve got the house all decorated for it, doesn’t mean you have to bring it to the table. Know what I mean?" He arched a no-nonsense brow at the other man. This was not Fisher’s favorite time of year. Neither was Christmas, come to think of it. Or any other holiday. Ironic that he should write articles for a living that meant he was forced to expound on such seasonal topics for Midwest Home and Fantasy, a regional online magazine with a growing fan-base, when he had no real interest in them himself, being a practical, no-nonsense kind of a guy.
"I’m a vampire." Hunter smiled, leaning across the table toward Fisher. "Want to see my fangs?"