Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Creating that character - Kenny Ross from 'No Matter What'...

As the halfway mark looms large in this first draft of 'Extra Time', the second book in the Striker Trilogy, and I once again find myself becoming totally engrossed in the lives of the characters involved in this story, it got me thinking about some of the other characters I've created in the past, and how close I've become to some of them. 


Now, I don't know about other authors out there, but there are some characters I feel closer to than others. That's not to say that I'm not close to all my characters, I am. I wouldn't be able to write about them otherwise. It's just that, well, there are some I've created that will always have a special place in my heart. And one of those is the character of Kenny Ross, from No Matter What and Illusions of Love, mainly because I can remember the exact moment I created him. And that moment was two decades before No Matter What even came to light. But he was there, in the back of my mind, for all that time. He was always going to come to life at some point. Always.

So, just how did Kenny come to light then? Well, it all began one evening back in 1991 in the Cannon (formerly known as the Classic) Cinema in West Monkseaton. My sister and I were there to watch a film called Point Break - not much of a plot but after five minutes it became quite evident that it could have been the worst movie ever made and I was still going to enjoy it because, quite frankly, the eye candy was amazing! And so my lifelong crush on Keanu Reeves was born. It began that very night, as I watched that film. And my Keanu Crush just got stronger as I spent the next four nights back in that cinema, watching that movie over and over again. The plot didn't get any better, but I just couldn't get Keanu out of my mind, I mean, even his character's name in that movie - Johnny Utah - even that was something else! I just love that name!I wish I'd thought of it...

Keanu Reeves (left) with Patrick Swayze in 'Point Break'. And so Kenny Ross was born...
The way he looked in that movie, the way he walked, talked, laughed, it all stayed with me. And I just knew, there and then, that I would put that crush to good use one day, and base a character all of my own on Keanu.  

Now, to be quite honest, all of that makes me sound like some weird, obsessed fan-girl, but I know now that it was just the beginnings of something that wouldn't see the light of day for another twenty years. That's all it was. No need for any restraining order or anything... ;)

Keanu Reeves as FBI agent Johnny Utah in 'Point Break'
Anyway, I didn't know exactly who Kenny would be at that point, of course. I just knew that, one day, a character who looked like Keanu in his younger days would appear in a book of mine - giving me endless excuses to watch Point Break over and over again, and even now, twenty-two-years on, I still never tire of watching it. It holds a lot of memories does that movie. 

But that was only the start. Over the years Keanu only got better looking, which only served to give me more and more "research" for Kenny's character, which was a good thing, seeing as No Matter What was turning into something of a saga - which it ended up being. That book spanned twenty years (and 800 pages!), beginning in 1991, which was perfect for me. Kenny began life very much as a Johnny Utah-esque figure, a hot young movie star, but with a spiritual side. And I loved him from the very first second I started writing him. All those memories of decades ago, of first discovering Keanu, they all came flooding back as I created Kenny. And from that moment on he became - and still is - my favourite character. Ever. Out of all my books, he's always the character I come back to. The character, out of all them, that I want to keep writing about.

More 'Point Break' action... Now, where did I put that DVD...?

But, as No Matter What spanned twenty years, so the character of Kenny had to grow, but, as the years rolled by, he never lost any of his good looks. That movie star with the rock star edge, that's how I like to describe Kenny. And, as I'm a huge fan of what I like to call "scruffy Keanu" - when he has the beard and the longer hair, and wears the faded jeans and the army boots - that's how Kenny developed, too. 

"Scruffy Keanu" - I still would...
And now, even after two books, as both Kenny and Keanu head into their late forties, Kenny Ross will be making another appearance in a third book containing some of the characters from No Matter What and Illusions of Love. Because I can't let him go. I just can't. Every now and then I get a burst of inspiration as to where I can take him next, what the future holds for him, and so many people like the character of Kenny, it would be wrong to never write about him again. I just couldn't do that.

Love, love, LOVE this pic!
So, it took just one night (well, okay, five nights) in a little, now-demolished cinema for me to create Kenny Ross - albeit in a very vague form. But that was the night that character was born, so to speak. The night that kicked it all off. My Keanu Crush has been put to good use over the past twenty or so years, and I only hope it serves me just as well in the future as I write the next installment in Kenny's life. 

Just like Keanu, Kenny's grown older, but he's still a star in my eyes. And I can't wait to spend more time with him in the future. Oh, the research possibilities that might entail... I love being an author... ;)

So it leaves me with just one thing left to do, and that's to thank Keanu for giving me the character of Kenny Ross, because, without Point Break, I'm not altogether sure Kenny would have existed...


No Matter What and Illusions of Love are available to download from AMAZON 


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