• MA Senft

Character Inspiration: Jay

Updated: Aug 9

Shadows of December: Illusions of Time

Character Inspiration: Get to know the background behind the main characters in this engaging story about the ethical and spiritual ramifications of the life we live.

JAY – The future of the world is dependent upon his decisions and the choices he chooses to make.

My grandson and inspiration for the character Jay

Jay, the intelligent, smart-aleck hero of the book, is based upon my oldest grandchild, who like his character is named after two grandfathers, his great grandfather, William Everett, and his grandfather J (the initial alone was used.) Together they made up William Jay Everett Chaney.

When Jay was quite small and spent the night, I started making up stories before bed. One of those stories was about a boy who is taken into the future. Those verbal tales were based on a story I wrote for a contest when I was ten years old in California.

As he grew older, I created all kinds of fanciful science-fiction based adventures mainly because I loved Twilight Zone as a kid. Often we would sit outside on a swing in the evening long after the other children had gone to bed. He kept a flashlight with him while I made up stories. Regardless of whatever new story I created, he always asked for me to retell him the adventure about the time-traveling boy. The story changed and transformed over the years, always with the same premise, the characters and scenery growing and mutating into the version that would eventually become this book.

Jay with Isaac, Ethan and Danielle (left to right)

It was with his encouragement and at his insistence that I picked up a pen later in life and put this enchanting story down onto paper. He wanted me to write it down so he could share the story with his children and grandchildren. As he was always the main character of the story, even years ago, I based the physicality and personality of the character Jay around him. Like most teenagers, Jay considers the town he has grown up in to be commonplace and dull. He thinks his parents spoil his younger sister and expect too much from him. He finds them old-fashioned and frankly, hokey. It is only through his adventures in the book that he realizes that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. His place in the destiny of all of mankind shines a spotlight on the statement, “You don’t always know how wonderful something is until it is gone.”

Jay and his cousin Brittany

I wanted Jay to be relatable; I think all young people share similar feelings to him and thinking longingly for a future that is different from what their parents have. When you read the story, what do you think Jay looks like? Do you feel similarly to him about your family, even though the story takes place in 1947? I would love to know your thoughts on Jay!

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M.A. Senft 

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