Creating Sean Aloysius Patricius Ryan

Sean Patrick Ryan is one of the first characters I ever created. I was going to have him be larger than life, and life kept one-upping me. He would be unstoppable … okay, he could be stopped, he was going to die. I had that planned out. He was two meters tall, one wide, and had an affinity for blowing things up. Sometimes with fusion bombs….

… What’s that you ask? I got his middle name wrong? That’s too tall?

You’re thinking of Sean Aloysius Patricius Ryan, or just plain Sean A.P. Ryan. Different character.

Yes, I know, it’s a pain in the ass. I had started my writing with Sean Patrick Ryan, in the 24th century, as part of a space opera that swept 5 books … though the writing was so condensed, and the spaces so small, it was s probably more like 10 books, and will probably be 13 books by the time I’m done with them.

After a while, when I went on to other writing projects, I circled back around to thrillers, and I was going to write It Was Only on Stun!

And I couldn’t. Nothing came to me. Which is odd. That never happened before. And by that point I had written a dozen books. It’s easy. All I had to do was sit down and write.

Nope. Wouldn’t happen.

Then I wrote the name. And I was off to the races again. Except I knew he had to be different than his 24th century descendant. He would have to be shorter, for one. So this one would be 5’6″ instead of 6’6″. Since he wouldn’t be in space station lighting, but the California sun, he would be more tan. The coloring would be the same.

He needed to have martial arts training. I didn’t have any formal training at the time, so I cut and paste a lot of skills together. I had recently been really impressed by stuntmen, and what they could do without wires….

How did I get a stuntman into a thriller? Oh, he changed careers, duh.

And it got stranger as things went on. Sean AP Ryan was way too tightly wound. He needed to relax. He was more likely to explode than the high explosives in the SF version. He hated his father, had a strange relationship with his family, and may have been even more conniving and mercenary than I first imagined.

Sean Ryan quickly took over Stun! and we were off to the races.

When I started A Pius Man, I was only going to have three central characters, and some side players. There would be Giovanni Figlia, Villie Goldberg, and Hashim Abasi. That’s it. Father Frank Williams would be suspicious looking, as would XO and the Pope. Okay, we’ll have a subplot with the Mossad. That’s it.

Then I’m about fifty pages into A Pius Man (remember from yesterday, this was when it was the massive one-book version), when Figlia was introducing the other two around. He was showing off the training the priests and nuns were getting in self defense. I mean it made sense. After all, Pius XIII is from the Sudan, he’s not paranoid, he’s experienced in being shot at. So of course it would make sense that…

DAMMIT SEAN! GTFO OF MY BOOK. YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE.

Mutter mutter mutter … okay. Fine. You can be a cameo. But otherwise, you’re not going to be in the rest of the book. You might be a supporting character. You already have your own book series.

A Pius Legacy: A Political Thriller (The Pius Trilogy Book 2) by [Finn, Declan]…. Okay, fine, you can drive a car. You can’t do anything wrong by driving a car.

…. O COME ON, MAN. THE SPANISH STEPS? REALLY?

All right. Now that you’ve been shot at, you can have some curiosity and… WHY ARE THEY SHOOTING AT YOU THIS TIME?

WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU’RE A KEY FIGURE IN THE PLOT!

YOU’RE NOT EVEN SUPPOSED TO BE IN THIS BOOK!

Before I knew it, Sean A.P. Ryan had taken over A Pius Man.

Don’t worry. I had my revenge in A Pius Legacy. Heh heh heh. That’ll teach him not to go where he’s not invited.

Why, yes, I did just say I taught my fictional character a lesson.

Don’t worry about it. I’m a writer. It’s legalized schizophrenia. I’m allowed to play with my imaginary friends.

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