…Even if he doesn’t know it yet. 😀
But seriously. Every so often, one of my readers asks where I got the inspiration for my characters. Because The Newbie began as Ghost Hunters fan fiction, Drac, Gabe, and the other Petery Paranormal crew are loosely based on the members of TAPS. Other characters, such as JoEllyn and Aunt Julia, are reminiscent of my own friends or family.
For me, Spook Steele’s development as a character has been the most interesting, surprising, and fun.
Spook showed up for the first time about three-quarters of the way through the fan fiction version of The Newbie, and I intended him to have a once-and-done appearance. At that point in the story, Kyr’s crush on Grant Wilson (Gabe Petery in the published novel) was intensifying, and Spook’s only purpose–as far as Kyr was concerned–was to act as an antagonist, bullying Kyr and pushing her around a bit, so that Grant would have to step in and “rescue” her. Of course, I got a little stuck at the end of that chapter, since Grant was married and had no feelings towards Kyr except for a brotherly protectiveness, and Kyr wasn’t the homewrecker type who would ever make a move on a family man.
One of my friends who had been following my story commented that Spook sounded like a potential love interest for Kyr. While that hadn’t been in the cards, the suggestion made sense, plus that option added a plot twist as Kyr struggled with her crush on a married man as well as with her attraction to a man she really couldn’t stand. Kyr and Spook dance around each other for the rest of fan-fiction Newbie but never get together. Still, at the end of the story, Kyr hints that we haven’t seen the end of Spook Steele.
As I began rewriting fan-fiction Newbie to prepare for eventual publication, I decided that if Spook was going to be an eventual love interest, he should probably make an appearance right away, to allow him and Kyr more time to play off of one another. Spook shows up just as the investigation is about to begin, and he takes an immediate and uncalled-for dislike to Kyr, which sets her and everyone else on edge. Because Gabe sees Kyr almost as a little sister, he takes her under his wing, which of course Spook misinterprets, adding to his dislike of her.
So, how does Eoin Macken fit in, you may ask? Well, because Spook was originally meant to be temporary, I didn’t give a whole lot of thought to his appearance or personality. I’ve always had a “thing” for longish dark hair, brown eyes, and facial hair on a man, so that was an easy go-to as far as appearance was concerned. I also knew that he’d had a rough past which had hardened him and given him a bit of an attitude.
This is where Fate stepped in and dropped a flesh-and-blood inspiration right in my lap (well, okay, not literally, although that could have been interesting). At the time I was writing fan-fiction Newbie, I had recently discovered the BBC series Merlin on Syfy. Besides ghosts, I also adore anything King Arthur. I was watching my way through Season 3 at this point, and I was up to Episode 4: Gwaine. Now, Sir Gawain has always been my favorite knight, so I was anxious to see what they would do with Gwaine’s character. Well, when this ruggedly-handsome, troublemaking type with long brown hair, brown eyes, and a killer smile introduced himself as Gwaine during a bar brawl, my jaw hit the floor. I was looking at Spook Steele! I could hardly wait till the show was over so I could Google the actor who played Gwaine. Within a half hour, I had found photos of Eoin Macken to forward to all my Newbie-following friends and told them this was Spook Steele.
As Spook took on a larger role in the story, I found I had an ulterior motive for watching Merlin–I had to study Gwaine/Eoin to learn some of his mannerisms and quirks so I could incorporate them into Spook’s character. I know, poor me, right? By the time I was rewriting Newbie, I could not look at photos of Eoin Macken without thinking Spook Steele, and every time I wrote a scene that included Spook, I saw Eoin’s face.
Dreamer that I am, I envision The Newbie being made into a movie someday, of course with Eoin Macken starring as Spook Steele.
What do you think, Mr. Macken? Are you up for it?