Illunse tagged me for a challenge called Tales of Twelve Characters. Apparently Illunse was tagged by Kendra who swiped it from Earwen--or something like that. Basically you first list twelve characters from any genre and then answer a couple of dozen questions with them.
Illunse said I could use my own characters. I don’t know if that’s fair to you since you won’t know most (or all) of them. I listed the characters in order of appearance. The first seven appear in my first book Walking a Fine Timeline as well as the second book, and the next five are introduced in the second book Fairhaven House for Wayward Time Travelers.
Here are a couple of excerpts: Chapter 1, book 1 and Chapter 5, Book 1. Also I have a short story The Debriefing, showing the Enforcers and Wendell’s world before Serendipity.
I hope this doesn’t give too many spoilers.
1. Dr. Serendipity Brown - Inventor of Time Travel from 2353
2. Sherman Conrad - fast food worker from 1985. Serendipity’s assistant.
3. Bruce Dawson - Serendipity’s womanizing, gambling, verbally abusive ex-husband #6
4. Dr. Wendell Howe - Temporal Anthropologist (T.A.) from 27th Century studying Victorian Age. Persona: English scholar. Becomes Serendipity’s Time Travel Consultant.
5. Dr. Tobias Leach - T.A. studying Victorian Age. Persona: English gentleman. He’s been recording 19th century brothels--not the history or social impact, just his own exploits. His books outsell all other T.A.s books combined. The other T.A.s consider Tobias a sell-out and a pervert.
6. Dr. Henry Darrel - T.A. studying 19th century American working man. Persona: cowboy.
7. Agent 5 - Leader of Team 5 for the Institute of Time Travel Enforcement Agency in the 27th century. His job is to make sure time travelers don’t affect history. Serendipity is outside his jurisdiction.
8. Dr. Matilda Warwick - T.A. recording art and culture of Medieval Convents. Persona: lay nun.
9. Dr. Abubakari Djata - T.A. recording lost books of medieval Timbuktu. Persona: Mali scholar
10. Dr. Eric Olafson - T.A. studying European Dark Ages. Persona: Viking Blacksmith. Looks like a blonde grizzly bear.
11. Nathan Brown - Serendipity’s ancestor, founder of Brown family. Freed slave, Revolutionary War veteran. Serendipity saves him on day he “disappeared” and takes him to the future to retire.
12. Dr. Veronica “Sunshine” Drew - T.A. studying 1960s & 1970s. Persona: Hippie
1. Who would make a better college professor, 6 or 11?
Henry is associated with the University of Wyoming and like all Temporal Anthropologists has to give lectures on his findings. Nathan is in his seventies and is illiterate. He is learning to read though at a fast rate. If Nathan had the opportunities and same education as Henry, I think he might have made the better professor. Henry would chafe at a desk job.
2. Do you think #2 is hot?
Sherman is only nineteen. I like younger men, but not THAT young. Sherman wears glasses and is too short, too skinny, too geeky--so yeah, I think he’s hot.
3. 12 sends 8 out on a mission. What is it? Does it succeed?
Sunshine (12) is in love with Eric (10). Matilda (8) would be more familiar with the dark ages than Sunshine. Sunshine just might send Matilda out to find the perfect gift for a Viking. Maybe Matilda would come back with mead. You can’t go wrong with mead.
4. What is or what would be 9's favorite book?
Dr. Abubakari Djata’s favorite book is Tarikh al-Sudan, or History of the Sudan by Abd al-Rahman al-Sadi, written 1653. It’s a history of Timbuktu from its founding to 1653.
5. Would it make more sense for 2 to swear fealty to 6, or the other way around?
Sherman is a teenager from the 1980s and Henry is a cowboy ingrained in the 19th century. Neither is going to “swear fealty” to anyone. Both would however without hesitation promise to help the other in any way possible.
6. For some reason, 5 is looking for a roommate. Should (s)he room with 9 or 10?
This actually happened in book two. Serendipity got four motel rooms, each with two double beds and she can’t get any more rooms. There is one unoccupied bed in one room either Tobias, Eric or Abubakari can have, and the other two will have to share room four. Everyone is a little reluctant to share a room with a Viking, but nobody likes Tobias. So Eric volunteers to share a room with Tobias just so he can make Tobias miserable. That’s about as mean as Eric gets.
7. 2, 7 and 12 are going out to dinner. Where do they go and what do they discuss?
Sherman, Agent 5 and Sunshine? Agent 5 isn’t allowed to fraternize with Temporal Anthropologists like Sunshine or people from the past like Sherman. If Agent 5 did “invite” them to dinner it would be to either interrogate them or to give them some crucial information that would prevent history from being changed by some renegade.
8. 3 challenges 10 to a duel, who wins?
Blowhard Bruce challenge Eric? Come on, Wendell took on Bruce, and Eric can pin Wendell like he was a little kid. If Bruce was stupid enough to challenge Eric, Eric would probably just pick him up and ask “Do you really want to fight?”
9. If 1 stole 8's most precious possession, how would (s)he get it back?
I suppose Matilda’s most prized possession is a small wooden box with photos and letters from friends she takes with her when she gets homesick. I can’t imagine why Serendipity would want to steal it, even if Wendell’s old love letters are in there.
10. Suggest a story title in which 7 and 12 both attain what they desire.
“Revenge on the Renegade” Agent 5 would like to find the leader of the Time Keepers and Sunshine would to find who kidnapped her. Neither knows who it is, or that it’s the same person.
11. What kind of plot device would you have to use if you wanted 1 and 4 to work together?
Serendipity just shows up, announces who she is and Wendell instantly destroys his career to help her. (Chapter 5, Book 1) Of course there is some questions if this past and future incident contributed to that. (excerpt Chapter 5, Book 2)
12. If 7 visited you for the weekend, how would it go?
Agent 5? The Enforcer? It would not be a social call. Trust me, you don’t want him to visit.
13. If you could command 3 to perform any service or task for you, what would it be?
We would all like to tell Bruce to go drown himself. Perhaps just tell him to go away and leave Serendipity alone.
14. Does anyone on your friends list write or draw 11?
Nathan is illiterate because he was never able to go to school, so he’s never had a letter. Wendell is teaching him to read and write. Everyone he knows in 2010 lives in the house with him. Abubakari is the first to leave, so Nathan might get a letter from Timbuktu. However if Nathan ever commented on the fact that he never had a letter around Serendipity, I could see her hopping back in the past a week or two to go to the other side of the world to send “grandpa” a letter.
As for who might draw Nathan: Eric might carve him on a wooden panel, but he would look like an abstract Viking design. If Matilda drew Nathan, he would look like a figure from a medieval manuscript. Sunshine would make Nathan look like a Peter Max poster.
15. If 2 had to choose sides between 4 and 5, what side would (s)he choose?
No contest if Sherman had to choose between Wendell or Tobias. Wendell has always been nice to Sherman and he considers Wendell one of his best friends. Tobias has always been rude to Sherman and he considers Tobias a jerk.
16. What might 10 shout out while charging into battle?
“GO GOLDEN GOPHERS!” Eric isn’t allowed to fight in battles in the past. I’m sure though he has attended many University of Minnesota football games.
17. If you had to choose a song to best describe 8, what would it be?
If I said “Waltzing Matilda,” the Aussie wouldn’t appreciate it. Her Dad named her after the Australian National Anthem in a fit of whimsical patriotism. Perhaps this song would: Kyrie Eleison by Hildegard von Bingen.
18. 1, 6 and 12 are having a dim sum at a Chinese Restaurant. There is only one scallion pancake left, and they all reach for it at the same time. Who gets it?
Serendipity. Henry, being a gentleman, would pull his hand back when he saw two ladies reaching for it. Sunshine, the flower child, would avoid the bad vibes taking it would bring. Serendipity acts, then thinks. After she stuffed it in her mouth and realized the other two were reaching for it too, she’d order another plate of dim sum.
19. What would be a good pickup line for 2 to say to 10?
Pickup line? That’s not happening, neither are gay. Sherman might invite Eric for some male bonding with “Wanna go get a pizza?” Now, if they were both gay, “Wanna go get a pizza?” would still work.
20. What would 5 most likely be arrested for?
Trying to solicit a hooker, who was really an undercover cop.
21. What is 6's secret?
He knows Matilda and Wendell have an “Understanding.” (Or at least did, before Wendell met Serendipity.) Henry can’t mention it to Wendell or Matilda. Wendell knows about Henry but can’t mention it to him or Matilda. He also knows Henry is her favorite. Matilda can’t tell either one about the other and feels most guilty about the fact that Henry is her favorite because she is fond of Wendell and doesn’t want him to feel second best. Wendell knows this though it‘s never been mentioned, which makes him all the more fond of Matilda, because she goes out of her way not to make him feel second best. This would make a great soap opera if everyone involved wasn’t being so polite.
22. If 11 and 9 were racing to a destination, who would get there first?
Abubakari is the oldest at 120 although physically he is in his late fifties. Nathan is in his seventies, but has had to work hard all his life, so he’s in good shape. Maybe Abubakari might win, but Nathan wouldn’t be far behind.
23. If you had to walk home through a bad neighborhood late at night, who would you feel more comfortable walking with, 7 or 8?
Matilda would be better company, but Agent 5 is an Enforcer. He could probably defeat any mugger just by glaring at them.
24. 1 and 9 reluctantly team up to save the world from the threat posed by 4's sinister secret organization. 11 volunteers to help them, but it is later discovered that s/he is actually a spy for 4. Meanwhile, 4 has kidnapped 12 in an attempt to force their surrender. Following the wise advice of 5, they seek out 3, who gives them what they need to complete their quest. What title would you give this fiction?
Huh? Wendell sinister? Tobias wise? Bruce give anyone anything? All right, this is fiction. Here goes nothing.
One day Wendell is brewing a pot of tea. He pulls out his pocket watch to time the brewing while a storm brews outside the window. He accidentally triggers the Theta Wave in the watch just as lighting strikes a tree, ricochets off and hits Wendell. It shorts his brain making Wendell more susceptible to the Theta Waves. Since he was concentrating on the tea at that moment, he becomes even more obsessed than normal with the brown brew. Wendell goes bonkers and decides to destroy all the “nasty” coffee in the world, so everyone will be forced to drink tea.
Realizing the threat this could be to her morning cup of coffee, Serendipity enlists Abubakari’s help. He is the African history expert and would know where and when to find coffee trees in Ethiopia, if Wendell succeeds. Nathan volunteers to help his “grand-daughter” Serendipity, but they discover Wendell has brainwashed Nathan with a compliance disk. Serendipity uses another compliance disk to free Nathan.
In the meantime, Wendell kidnaps the trusting Sunshine, promising her tea. The hippie thought he meant the kind you smoke, not the kind you drink. Serendipity and company dare not move directly against Wendell now that he has Sunshine hostage.
Serendipity goes to the other Temporal Anthropologists asking advice. No one can suggest anything except Tobias, who mumbles that maybe Wendell should get laid. Serendipity tries to seduce Wendell, but he is too obsessed with his diabolical plan to notice her. Abubakari suggests that Tobias’s idea might still be the answer, if they raise the stakes and make Wendell jealous. They seek out Serendipity’s ex, Bruce.
Bruce recalls the humiliation he suffered at Wendell’s hand, tells him he’s going to take Serendipity back. Remembering how miserable Bruce had made Serendipity’s life, Wendell comes to his senses, and scares Bruce off (which doesn’t take much). Serendipity takes Wendell to a 24th century hospital and has the brain damage fixed. Coffee is saved! Wendell is back to his former self and all is forgiven. Happy ending!
Synopsis for upcoming novel “To Tea or not to Tea” or “Coffee, Tea or Me.” (Nah, this is too far-fetched even for me.)
Now, I have tagged the following people so we can keep this going. As soon as they do theirs I will put in a link to their sites. If this sounds like something you would like to try, feel free to ask to be tagged in the comments below, or better yet at my Twitter site, @Scablander.
@mousewords - Christine Taylor Tale of Twelve
@Invextrix - Twelve Character Story
@SimonScotland - Simon Lloyd
@jcimpellizzeri - Jorge Impellizzeri