meeting 'Frostbite' bannack
and the face behind him. December, 2018
People who read my work often ask me how I make my characters so 3-Dimensional. The answer is both as simplistic, and as complicated, as the following: "I become them."
You see, I know my characters as intimately as I know myself. So do they. These players of my fictional world, they cease to become 'characters' and form living, breathing entities of their own. You could say I created them with the world around them, but it goes far deeper than that. They are people, albeit from a different century, who laugh, cry and bleed just like the rest of us. They struggle with the issues of their day, fighting to survive. Some strive for greatness, others plow along with their heads down, hoping not to be noticed. I have news for them; they are. Every player in my books, from the MC's all the way down to the local girl crossing the road delivering a basket of bread--they are there for a purpose. They are the shades of an artist's palette, painted with an eye for history, serenity, raw realism, and the beauty of a well-told tale. These people are designed to come to life through the written word, playing the movie roles in your head. They are there to entertain and teach, and instill thoughts and values of the day. As their writer, I must say, they are darn good at their job. These people teach me something new every day, and I thank them all for the ride! Building their world has become an incredible life-journey, and I am ever grateful for their wisdom and guidance along the way.
Once in a while, one of these already real-to-me fictional people takes on a human role of epic proportion.
Meet Charlie Bannack, otherwise known as Matt Hamilton. Matt's a good friend of ours who owns a local old west dry goods store. He caters to the Reenactors of the Civil War and Old West, Cowboy Action, SASS, and so on. I like to walk in the shop just to surround myself with the visual world of the cowboy from time to time. During one of those trips, hanging over the counter shooting the breeze with Matt, he turned in profile and I realized with a start how much he looked like one of my main characters, Charlie Bannack. Charlie's a horseman in every sense of the word, lean and tough, with a soul as deep and harrowing as the earth itself. Other punchers are known to call Bannack "Frostbite" for his frosty temperament, though never to his face if they value the blood in their noses.
As I looked at Matt, (who by now no doubt thought me crazy as a lizard on a hot tin roof), I pondered whether he looked like Bannack, or vice versa. Either way, I spoke up, and next thing I knew, Matt was lining up to step into the boots of a 19th century cowboy he had never met. At least, not in this lifetime.
With the epic stand-alone series I am currently writing known as "Moral," you will be seeing much more of Bannack's face, and reading about his adventures. Look out for him, for he leaves a lasting impression. While you wait for the completion of the novels, go on over to Hamilton Dry Goods, say hello to Matt for me, and immerse yourself in the world of the cowboy.
Just click on the links below; tell him Bannack and his buddy S.L. Matthews sent you.