The Birth of Ives Andrich & The Killing Game Series
Today I am hosting a feature by The Black Rose, author of The Killing Game Series.
I love these features because I am always curious to know what inspires the creation of such complex characters. This post gives us an insight into the birth of the character Ives Andrich.
I simply woke up one morning and had to write a novel. “What’s up with that?” I thought. The computer was not in working order, so out came the typewriter. Rewrites were difficult but manageable with a bizarre numbering system that even the best mathematician couldn’t calculate. All in all, it went well. I started the first story. Then I had an idea for another and started it. Eventually, I purchased another computer: faster, additional memory, and all-around better. The writing was going well.
Then one evening around seven o’clock, after having dinner with my parents, I stopped at the Mesquite branch of the Phoenix Public Library in Paradise Valley, Arizona (I was living in AZ then). I was looking for a telephone directory to find real estate agents in Manhattan. I planned to move there within the next year. Of course, there was none. However, as I crouched down and looked across the shelf at the bottom of the bookcase, I heard a man’s soft voice sounding from my left.
“Excuse me, Miss.” I looked up.
“Yes,” I whispered back as I stood up. Once fully upright, I looked down at him slightly. That made me think, why is it always the short men that are trying to get my attention. Not that I’m that tall at 5’8”. “Hum,” I thought silently and waited for him to speak first for I had not approached him, he had approached me and a slight suspicious chord in me felt he had an ulterior motive.
“Can I ask you something?” he asked.
My eyebrows moved up in a questioning fashion. “Sure,” I answered.
He pretended to be coy, or so it seemed as he looked down, then back up at me when he asked, “What do you do for a living?”
“I’m a writer,” I answered and went back to looking at the directories. All throughout the conversation, I showed little to no interest in him whatsoever because there was none. He smirked. I should have known better and walked away after that, but I remained.
“I thought you might be,” he said in a way as if he knew something I did not. I frowned slightly at him.
“And why might that be?”
He shrugged. “You look like a writer; you know...creative.”
I nodded slightly, then looked around to see whether anyone else saw this guy or was I the only one. A few people saw him, mostly because his tone was a bit loud for the library.
“What can I do for you?” I asked, attempting to hurry along whatever this was. Was he attempting to pick me up? That wasn’t going to happen. He was not my type—too short, too cocky, and generally average.
“Well...,” he said, pausing slightly, “First let me introduce myself. I’m Jeffrey Shepherd.” He paused again, thinking I would volunteer my name, but I didn’t. I just looked at him, waiting as if he had more to say about himself. “What is your name?” he asked.
“Allina,” I said.
“Hi, Allina. Do you have a minute to talk with me?”
“Isn’t that what we’ve been doing?”
He smirked again, and I didn’t like that. I don’t like people that smirk. It’s creepy and somehow underhanded. “Yeah, we have been.” He paused again as if he was trying to mastermind something intelligent to say.
“Where are you from?” “What do you want?” I asked him straight out.
“Did you ever think about writing a novel?”
“I already do that?”
“Anything I would have read?”
“How would I know?” There was that smirk again. So sarcastic that I wanted to turn and walk away. Instead, I turned my attention to the bookshelf and finished looking for the directory.
“What are you looking for?” he asked.
“So, did you ever think about writing a novel about illegal sports gambling and the mob?”
“No, not particularly. Why? Have you?” I asked.
“I’m not a writer. But, what if someone paid you to write about that? Would you do it?”
“I know nothing about either,” I said.
His eyebrows jolted up in the strangest, most disbelieving fashion, and I truly had no idea why. What was it that I said that made him react that way? Or was it that he knew something that I didn’t? Something about me? Bored with him, I returned my attention to the telephone directories. “What if I asked you to write a novel about illegal sports gambling and the mob? Would you do it?”
Releasing an uninterested sigh, I turned and looked at him. “No, I don’t think I would.”
“Not even for the right amount of money?”
“I don’t know enough about the subjects to write intelligently about them.”
“It would be fiction. There’s already enough factual books out there on those subjects,” he said as he held out two books to me: one on the mafia and one on sports gambling.
“So you are asking me whether I will write a book for you on those subjects. Why?”
He suddenly got quiet. He looked down to the books, but when he looked back up to me, he said, “I had a friend that was killed by the mob because of illegal sports gambling.”
Please don’t think me mean, but to myself I thought, Why are people always telling me these sorts of things? What’s wrong with people? Do I look like a psychiatrist? Do I look like someone that wants to hear their deepest darkest secrets and problems? I must because here is, yet, another person unloading on me. After a brief but sincere apology to God, I smiled and said. “I’m sorry about your friend.” He smiled slightly and suddenly I realized he was a Libra. At first, I couldn’t get a grip on him but after that statement, I saw Libra in him, but not a Libra with the best of traits.
“So would you write for me?” he asked, completely over his previous statement about his friend’s supposed murder. I was a bit shocked but asked.
“How old are you?” My tone was a bit condescending as if to accuse him of acting juvenile.
“I’ll be thirty-six this October.”
“Middle or end of the month?”
“How old are you?” he asked.
He laughed slightly to himself and set his books off to the side on the table where he stood. “So, would you write a novel for me?”
“Why? If you want it written, write it yourself. You seem literate.”
“I’m not talented. I’m not creative as you seem to be.”
“You assume a lot.”
“So, you’re not interested?”
“I don’t have the expertise to write even a fictionalization on those subjects.”
Then out of the blue, he said, “Would you believe that I turned one hundred thousand dollars into seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars by gambling?” He was bragging and quite proud of himself. Even if he were lying, what sort of person would talk about something like that, especially to a total stranger?
“Good for you,” I answered.
“You see, I go to the same casinos that my friend went to. The only difference is that I win.”
“I’m very happy for you.”
“So would you write about these subjects?”
“I think not.”
“What if I offered you fifty thousand dollars to write a fiction novel about these subjects?”
I looked into his eyes. They were bloodshot. Was he drunk? High? Maybe he just reads too much. Whatever it was, I didn’t like him...not one bit. “As I said before, I don’t know enough about either subject to write about them.”
“You could travel with me and I could show you. Then you’d have enough information to write ‘intelligently’,” he said, slightly sarcastic.
“What would make you think I would travel anywhere with you? Or even spend any more time with you now?”
“Meow!” he said as his hand made a swiping motion like a cat clawing at something in front of it. I guess this was his indication that I was defensive, like a cat. Stupid as he was, he had no idea with whom he dealt. I only looked down at him with one eyebrow raised slightly that told him I thought he was an imbecile.
Ignoring that, he asked, “Why not?”
“Look. You get me the facts. I’ll review them and let you know.”
“How do I get in touch with you?”
I pulled out a business card with my office telephone number on it handed it to him.
“Call the number on the bottom of that card. But if you do, and if I would ever write on this subject in any relation to you, I own everything. All the rights to the story, everything that would come from it.”
He smirked again, but I somehow was more immune to it this time. “I wouldn’t want anything to do with any of that. I don’t want anyone knowing anything about me or any connection to you.”
I rolled my eyes slightly, thinking, “Oh boy! Another one of those.” But egging him on, I said, “Why is that? How do you know that I won’t tell someone what you just told me?”
He looked at the checkout desk. Then he looked back at me. “You have no idea who I am.”
“Nor do I care,” I thought, but said, “You just told me your name.”
“If you went to that desk and asked them who just checked out these books, they’d give you a fake name. Not my name?”
“Not Jeffrey Shepherd?”
“That may not be my real name.”
“Whatever,” I said and turned toward the exit. “Well, you have yourself a good night...whoever you are.” I started walking toward the door and unfortunately for me, he followed. Glancing around, I noticed people looking at us, and they had questions in the gazes. “God, how I wish I hadn’t come into this library tonight,” I whispered under my breath.
Walking outside, he said. “So do we have a deal?”
“You’ll write about these subjects.”
“There’s no deal. Check with me at the end of next week,” I said as I kept walking to my car.
“No. I’ll call you in a month.”
Over my shoulder I said, “The novel will be finished by then.” I then continued to my car as he walked to his. I got in my car, started it and drove home.
I was only about thirty minutes from my house and, within fifteen of those, I had the entire story mapped out in my head. I got home, let my dogs out in the yard, made myself a cappuccino and sat down at my desk. I grabbed my book of baby names from on top of it and started searching for a name for the main character. I wanted to call him something related to John, but he needed to be Slavic, from Yugoslavia because I have a thing for men from that part of the world. Maybe because I enjoy the mystery of Slavic countries. I knew the last name would be Andrich. No explanation for that; it just felt right. I saw him so clearly in my mind for I had been seeing him in my mind since I was a child. I knew he would be FBI — just my personal preference. Then I saw the name Ives in the book. It was British, but I gave it a Serbo-Croatian pronunciation — I pronounced as E — and there we had it. Ives pronounced as Eves. Ives Andrich — strong, dark haired, hazel brown-green eyes, tall...long legged, powerful, influential with the intelligence to go along with it, romantic, sensuous, and virile. I smiled to myself. Now that is my type of man. This is going to be fun!
So there it is. It all started with a strange and uncomfortable meeting at that library in Phoenix, Arizona. That was the birth of Ives Andrich and The Killing Game Series. As odd as that meeting was, and as odd as that man seemed (whatever his name), it was one of the best nights of my life. A night that changed my life forever. I sincerely hope that whoever buys my stories enjoys reading them as much as I enjoy writing them. Dedication and love go into every story, along with parts of me and my life (like this story, which actually happened). If you have not read any of my novels, I hope you will consider them for your reading pleasure in the future. I hope you follow along to find out what happens with my heroes, heroines, and villains!
The Black Rose
P.S. By the way, I did have some knowledge on both of the subjects he mentioned. But writing about them, even fictionally, gave me more first-hand knowledge than I could have ever wanted.
The Black Rose Author website
Amazon Author Page http://andrichpublishing.com/