2) My wife and daughter
3) My neighbor
4) Yesterday's Enterprise (an episode from Star Trek: The Next Generation)
5) Charlie Brown and the little red-headed girl from the comic strip, Peanuts.
We'll start with LIONS. Everyone loves lions, don't they? They are majestic and powerful, noble, heroic, and occasionally cute and cuddly. For the purposes of this blog, we'll ignore the bloodthirsty, vicious aspects.
I'll credit two lion documentaries as inspiration for my next novel: Lions of the African Night and Lions and Hyenas: Eternal Enemies. Both films demonstrate the total devotion the lioness feels for her offspring. Lions and Hyenas puts this devotion into the context of an eternal war with a remorseless enemy. Now a lioness can handle a single hyena one on one, but she will have trouble killing it. And if a pack of hyenas show up, a small pride of lionesses can be overwhelmed.
An adult male lion is another matter. A big male is a hyena killer, but they are often away from the back, unable to protect the pride. The following video is six minutes long. It shows what happens when the lion arrives on the field of battle. (The video is the end of Lions and Hyenas. If you like lions/wildlife documentaries you should watch the whole program from the beginning. The video is also not necessary for you to get the gist of this blog entry.)
And, by the way, there are no lions in my novel.
my wife and my daughter
My wife and daughter are also not in the novel. But I will say that being a husband and a father change the way you look at the world. And my wife is a lioness. Trust me, if you are a threat to our daughter absolutely nothing will save you from my wife's wrath.
my neighbor and I
The photo doesn't do Chris justice. I am 5'10" tall and 160 pounds. Chris is 6'9" and 300 pounds. He's a big dude. He's not imposing. He's IMPOSING. He's also one of the nicest people I've ever met. How nice? Plowing driveways, rescuing neighbors in their broken down cars, and running generators (powering sump pumps and refrigerators) during a power outages. All for free. He does those things because those are the "things neighbors do".
Chris is in the book, sort of.
Yesterday's Enterprise is a terrific Star Trek episode. What do I like about it? It is a story of sacrifice. I am an absolute sucker for tales of sacrifice (both real and imagined). There are some people out there, who knowing they will certainly perish, step forward and do the right thing. They are willing to risk their one chance at life in order to save the lives of others.
And finally... the little red-headed girl in Peanuts. What does she have to do with my novel? How did she serve as inspiration? Unrequited love. Poor Charlie Brown, he loves her so, but can never get her attention, yet alone her love. Done poorly unrequited love can be pure sap. Done well it can be heart wrenching.
Putting it all together we have the story of...
a child in peril and a mother who will do anything to save her against insurmountable odds.
a giant of a man, feared by those who meet him, but who always does the right thing.
another man charging to the rescue, fearing he will be too late to save the woman he loves.
...all enfolded in a story of sacrifice.