Tammy: I draw characters from real people, performers or actors, sometimes the characters played by an actor, friends and fans, and sometimes simply from photographs paired with the right name. I’ve found that if I work with such characters for a short time, they will become their own people, independent from those I base them on, and in the meantime I know how they dress, what they look like, in the case of real people how they move and talk, and how I can check in on them if I need extra help.
Examples: my younger sister the paramedic became Alanna (only with red hair, not blond), my dad became the Lord Provost in Alanna’s time, and my stepmother because the Shang Wildcat. My friend writer Bruce Coville became Kyprioth the Trickster; my best friend Queen Thayet, her mother a Stormwing queen, her dove a griffin, and three of her dogs became dragons, Achoo, and Little Bear. (Actually, I cast a lot of animals I know in my books.)
Sandry is a combination of four of my fans; Daja, Lark, and Briar began as pictures that caught my imagination, and Tris is based on me. Frostpine was my writing mentor and Crane was based on the assistant to a powerful lawyer in an 80s TV show (Duke Vedris was based on his boss). Rosethorn is Major Kira Neryse from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and the captain of Dove’s guard is based on Bobby Goren, played by Vincent D’Onofrio from “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” Actor Jeff Goldblum became Numair; Sigourney Weaver is both Duchess Winnamine and Lady Sabine; Alice Cooper is Zhegorz in WILL OF THE EMPRESS, and Ozzy Ozborne is Emperor Ozorne.