The Story Behind the Character


Johnny Depp is a dead ringer for Samuel T. Towers!

I am not typically one of those authors who thinks of actors who could possibly play the parts of my characters. My characters are typically distinct to themselves, with one exception. When I dreamed up the character Samuel T. Towers for my book Born of Shadow, he immediately inhabited the pages with a quirkiness that reminded me of Johnny Depp, nerdster glasses and all.

For those who are not familiar with the book, Samuel is a character that has left behind the demands of a corporate job on Wall Street to chase his obsessions. He is a conspiracy theorist who is convinced that Atlantis not only exists, but that he can prove it as well. Samuel and his nephew Chris are in Egypt, chasing the trail of Thoth who supposedly brought the Emerald Tablets from Atlantis when they come into contact with Kami and her friends.

Kami doesn’t know what to make of Samuel at first. He is described in the book as in his mid to late forties. His hair is “a sweaty mop, ragged, unkempt and shoved aside like it annoyed him to have to deal with it, but it would be even more annoying to take the time to cut it. It stood up on one end, reminding (Kami) of an absent-minded scientist. A round pair of horn-rimmed spectacles perched on the end of his beaklike nose, and scraggly patches of scruff covered his chin. His shirt, only half tucked in, stuck to him like a second skin. It was covered in perspiration and food stains. She had a sneaking suspicion that he hadn’t changed his clothes for days.”

Samuel has turned out to be one of the most loved characters in the books, which I hadn’t been really anticipating. I’m not sure why he is so popular, but it’s been fun to see the reader’s reactions to him.

The story of how I came up with Samuel’s name is a fun one. Years ago, my husband wrote screenplays. Every so often he would speak to his cop buddy to get ideas, and in return, our friend told him to name a character after him. My husband never did end up naming a character after him, so when my quirky conspiracy theorist showed up, he suggested I name him after Sam. So that’s how he became Samuel T. Towers. Are we awesome friends or what? I bet Sam had no clue what he was getting into with that request.


The hubby and me with our cop buddy Sam Towers, who I named Samuel T. Towers after.

For any authors who are reading this, I’m curious about the backstory of one of your characters. How did you come up with the name or characteristics? Did you base it on anyone? Please share!



  1. Marion says

    Interesting anecdote lol you guys look great in the photo! Personally, I don’t always know where I come up with my characters. I tend to wonder if I describe them enough. In No Way or Heaven or Hell, for example, there’s a mix of creation and inspiration. Some characters are based on people I have encountered in my life, others I created fro A to Z, though put I tend to put in traits I or someone I know has in an attempt to give them depth.

  2. Ross Gedeborg says

    Nice backstory. Your characters definitely live on their own (and on their own terms), but it was fun to see how Samuel came to be. I’m really enjoying the first two books of the Shadow Wars series and looking forward to those to come.

  3. Ruth Hansen says

    Hmm…Johnny Depp is definitely one quirky character. I can see why everyone would enjoy Samuel when he is based on that kind of personality – but it still takes some good writing to make it work. Good job Sarah! I enjoyed hearing where the name came from too – what a fun story.

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