In Dispatch #11, I introduced you to Lizzie Stanton, the heroine of my forthcoming novel, while in Dispatch #19, I profiled her best friend, Althea Robinson. Now it's time to showcase the third member in the trio of young friends from Aldeburgh in my story: Jason Novak.
Jason is based partly on my memories of a real friend I had while attending Fort Wayne's Riverside Elementary in the early 1970s. I envied many things about this boy—he had a much cooler bike (a green Schwinn Stingray with a banana seat), a bigger house and (most importantly back then) a downstairs playroom full of what seemed like every toy imaginable.
Many years later, I found out this friend had struggled with serious issues as an adult, including multiple brushes with the law. It helped me realize that even those who seem to have everything can be hiding some secret pain.
Well, since I was writing a light bit of escapist fare and not America's Most Wanted, I steered clear of any entanglements with the law when creating the background for Jason Novak.
Instead, I gave him all of the cool things my real-life friend had, along with two very busy parents who have some issues. Given the nature of the story, I don't lean too hard on those darker elements, but their existence helps to show how the life of Jason, a well-to-do boy who seems to have it all, isn't as perfect as it might appear from the outside.
On the lighter side, Jason has a silly sense of humor and is fond of making his friends laugh. An automobile aficionado, he enjoys assembling plastic model kits of any kind of car.
While he, Lizzie, and Althea are all avid readers, Jason leans more toward comic books than novels, so it's no surprise his favorite authors are Gerber, Moench and Englehart rather than Dickens, Cooper, or Twain. He's also a devoted film buff, even to the point of collecting his favorite film scores on vinyl.
Note: I collected them, too—in fact, the first two LPs I ever bought were the soundtracks to a pair of James Bond films, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Live and Let Die. This was either in fifth or sixth grade, so yeah, my taste in music as a kid was a little unusual.
As I mentioned back in Dispatch #11, Lizzie and Althea are front and center in the story while Jason plays more of a supporting role. He's not nearly as brave as Althea or as bold as Lizzie, but still a good kid—a cheerful, steadfast friend—and I can tell you that things work out a lot better for him later than they did for his real life counterpart. That, folks, is the magic of fiction.
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