Friday, June 17, 2011

Character Friday: Nancy Lynn Jarvis

On TV, writers like Castle take their best characters from real life. In reality, most writers just take bits of reality and build something new and memorable out of it. But now and then, a real person will inspire you to write about them as is.....

Today, Nancy Lynn Jarvis is going to tell us about Dave Everett, a former cop and good friend to her amateur sleuth main character, and about the inspiration for him.

Camille: What made you create Dave?

Nancy: I write cozy style mysteries with a Realtor protagonist named Regan McHenry. She comes across the occasional body selling houses--she and her husband even bought a house with a partially mummified body in it--and she has friends and clients who sometimes find themselves in a mess. She’s a bit of a meddler, but it’s not reasonable to think she could stroll into the police station, sit down with a cop, and ask to be filled in on what’s happening in a murder investigation she finds interesting. Enter her best friend: Dave Everett.

His official title is Santa Cruz Police and Community Relations Ombudsman. He used to be a cop until he lost an eye in a shootout with a criminal. He was going to be forced into an early retirement but convinced the police department that, since Santa Cruz police and the community at large don’t always see eye to eye, they needed him to handle the media, public relations, overflow paperwork, and anything else that could be done from a desk.

He’s a meddler, too, or rather a slightly bored ex-cop who seems to have his fingers in many law enforcement pies and insinuates himself, at least verbally, into many investigations. Through him, Regan can get information she needs.

Camille: What makes him special to you?

Nancy: When I started writing, all my characters began as people I knew; I began outlining them using their real names. They quickly got renamed as they were developed and took on their own personalities…all except for Dave, my real one eyed former cop friend. He got a new last name and a new job, got blended with my twin cousins who were cops and the local police officer who does media interviews, but Dave is still the one I visualize as I write his character.

Although my real Dave says he doesn’t sound at all like Dave Everett, he does. He and I don’t tease one another the way Dave and Regan do, and I make up what I call his “Daveisms,” but Dave really could say them. Here’s an example: “I think you’re right about him being a bully, and bullies don’t usually make waves once they run into bigger, badder dogs…I wouldn’t lose sleep over tinfoil momma’s baby boy.” (You so could say something like that, Dave.)

I love writing him and coming up with phrases he would use. Dave has evolved; he’s not my friend any longer, but he really has become Regan’s best friend which makes him special to me.

Camille: Do you have more planned for Dave?

Nancy: Dave will always have a prominent place in Reagan McHenry real estate mysteries. In the book I’m just finishing writing, The Widow’s Walk League, I intended for him to have a smaller role, but he wouldn’t stand for it. Sometimes he talks to me as I write and demands more lines. He’s constantly frustrated by Regan’s foibles and it’s worth it to let him have his way because it’s fun for me to watch him get agitated.

The Regan McHenry Mystery Series, which features Dave Everett, has three books, currently available in paperback and Kindle editions: The Death Contingency, Backyard Bones, and Buying Murder.


Nancy Lynn Jarvis said...

Dave and I would like to thank you for having us on your blog today. He wants to make one thing clear, though: only Regan meddles. He's just doing his job.

The Daring Novelist said...

Thanks for dropping by, Nancy. And please let Dave know we appreciate the job he does!