I smacked my hand today because I shouldn’t have laughed. After I’d been told the crew of the Marimar shuttle craft in my Left Luggage story were not credible as NASA astronauts because of their humorous banter and other too-human traits, I’d spent time and effort honing down their nature to be more like the world’s perception of how the crew should behave. Now the main character, Jill, is a sexy forthright figure who always likes to get her own way, even to the point of disrespecting her commander. I modelled her, to an extent on a couple of real women astronauts. One, like my Jill, is good at using the remote grabber. Sadly, the read model for my character was arrested the other day in real life and faces charges related to her lusting after a married astronaut, who isn’t her husband. Attempted murder is alleged. I’m not going to give the details of Lisa Nowak’s personal life here but only to make a writerly point.
Editors tell me that the fictional characters I have maybe be too OTT and so I tone them down only to find that the real astronauts are even more OTT! But then it’s not a true crime story is it? When you read true crime, your stomach churns to the amazing unbelievability of what real people do. Far too bizarre for fiction!