When you accidentally meet the main character from your novel
I was walking along Ponsonby Road in Auckland on a beautiful morning when I ran into an old mate with his ten-year-old son. Here was a kid dressed in a Manchester United shirt, with accompanying NZ Warriors shorts. He was a cool kid: funny and full of life, with mannerisms that seemed oddly familiar.
Then it clicked.
As we stood there in the sun, my mate apparently told me what he’d been up to over Xmas. I say apparently because I struggled to focus on a word he said, mainly because the main character I’d been working on for the past two years, the guy who had lived inside my head all that time, was standing right in front of me in a Manchester United shirt. If I was a casting director for ‘My Best Worst Year’ the movie, I would have chosen this kid right away. Of course, I tried to relay this to my mate. Not surprisingly, he failed to catch my enthusiasm. It was all so freaky. Even more so – the kid’s name was Toby, the same as my main character. I took all this as a good sign – though given the similarities – wondered if this new novel is fiction at all.