Wednesday, April 03, 2013

A-to-Z Challenge Day 3: The Letter C

Owen Casper
The Fateful Lightning
Space Corps Book 2

Owen Casper is the first but not the last of the Caspers to pop up in the Space Corps saga.  He shows up late in the Fateful Lightning story, part of the new generation forming around the end of Robert Drummond's adventures.  Drummond is one of the central characters in Seven Thunders, which I recently completed writing after a fifteen year gestation, and one of the interesting things that happened while writing it was filling out the supporting cast.  Among them was none other than a character named Yoshimi Casper.  After Owen Casper's creation, I realized that the Caspers could be a link through the saga, the human equivalent to Lord Phan, who manages to make appearances in virtually every story.  Adrian Casper, for instance, is Owen's son, and he's reflective of the family dynamic that's central to the whole saga.  Percy Casper appears in Dead Letters.  I'm certain that as I write the books more will appear.  Yoshimi is the sister of Askre Casper, who only appears thanks to a short story I wrote earlier this year.  None of the Caspers are central to any of the stories, but together they're more than the sum of their parts.

Marty Corry
Yoshimi and the Spider's Web
Yoshimi Trilogy Volume 3

Marty is a patented tormentor figure in Yoshimi's academic life, which is a central element of the final volume.  Throughout the warrior orphan's story she studies under three mentors.  At Halliday Academy she meets Marty, who appears to corrupt Bill.  Marty Corry himself is suggestive of another running theme of names in my books, though he himself is not a part of it.  The name comes from a particular source I chose while envisioning the Yoshimi Trilogy, but "Marty" is a name that appears in each of my manuscripts.  When I was writing The Cloak of Shrouded Men I participated in NaNoWriMo, and chose to blog as I wrote.  In 2004 there was a wunderkind contestant on the TV quiz show Jeopardy named Ken Jennings.  You may remember him.  Epic winning streak and all that.  I decided to incorporate him into the story as Marty Jennings, who happened to be a pool player rather than trivia genius.  One of the earliest comments I ever received on a blog was from someone who'd known an actual pool player named Marty Jennings.  Except she hadn't just known him, she was his sister, and he had passed away.  In a weird sort of way I had stumbled into a tribute for a real person.  When I wrote Modern Ark I devised the character of Marty Renner (this time inspired by the actor Jeremy Renner, who had just had his breakthrough role in The Hurt Locker), and in Minor Contracts not only the character of Marcus but Marty Kirby (after comic book legend Jack Kirby).  When it came to Yoshimi's story I was initially at a loss as to how I might continue, because most of the names came from a particular scheme, and very few I had to come up with myself.  Yet when I was writing I realized that one of the main characters, Alan Babbage, needed something to keep his name in play while he was technically off-page for large stretches at a time in the second volume.  Thus came into being Marty Babbage, his brother.  A Martin Samuels shows up in Seven Thunders, a tribute to a friend named Sam Lane, who inadvertently inspired an alien world in the Space Corps universe.


The A's lost again.  The Cardinals won!  The Sox and Angels didn't play.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks for the introduction to the characters.
Sorry, I knew you were posting for the Challenge, just didn't know where!

Tony Laplume said...

I tend to forget that although for me it's perfectly natural to assume these things will take place at Scouring Monk, some of my readers may expect them elsewhere, such as at the blog with my name in the URL, which for any intelligent blogger would have become the ONLY blog.

Spacerguy said...

You need a steady hand and a keen eye to play pool but the game must sharpen the visual, olfactory, and auditory senses because Mark Twain played Billards.

Jay Noel said...

NaNo is awesome, isn't it? I decided to jump in last minute last year. I wrote nearly 80,000 words.

Weird coincidence with the pool playing Marty Jennings. Gave me the willies. Life is stranger than fiction.

Al Diaz said...

Just how many books have you written, Tony?

Michael Abayomi said...

Wow. That's kinda spooky. Naming a character only to find out such a person existed and had passed away. Now I see why we get all those disclaimers in the front of books.

Tony Laplume said...

Spacerguy, I've only barely played pool. So Mark Twain's got that on me.

Jay, sure is.

Al, all of the Space Corps books that I'll be talking about this month besides Seven Thunders (the "zero book") have not actually been written yet. These are characters in my extensive notes. The Yoshimi books, meanwhile, are written. I've also got manuscripts, so far unpublished of Modern Ark and Minor Contracts. My first book was Cloak of Shrouded Men. Finally, I've got Monorama, a collection of short stories. Just in case you wanted to know more than you wanted to know.

Michael, indeed very spooky, to not only get the name right but what he did for a living!

mshatch said...

I agree, that is spooky that you named someone after a real person who actually played pool. It must've been even spookier for his sister!

Tony Laplume said...

I can't imagine what she was thinking when she found out I didn't actually know Marty.

Kate OMara said...

There is almost always a story to go with the selecting of a character's name.

Tony Laplume said...

The best characters not only have a good story in front of them, but a good story about their name behind them.

Shaharizan Perez said...

I really like the idea of threading the Casper family throughout the novels althought hey are not major characters. It sort of adds continuity throughout the saga. Nice!

What no news of Yankees or Mets? :D

Tony Laplume said...

As a fan of the Red Sox, the Yankees are anathema. There's just no other way to put it.


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