When Gunner Star first blossomed into a full-fledged creation, it was easy to trace the origins of the character. He is me. Or I am him—depending how you look at it. I became my alter ego after “I died. I was reborn. I returned as man named Gunner Star.” But when it I was asked where “Caitlin Star” came from, I had to stop, think, and attempt to reverse engineer the creative process to discover some of Caitlin’s influences. Here are the top five as best as I could figure it out.
Okay, this one is a bit unfair since you cannot seek out my real life in a book or on DVD. Well, actually, you sort of can. It’s all there in the books I have written and will write. Sure, it is disguised in the action/adventure format; but lurking inside, buried deep beneath the colorful action and brooding melodrama, is the part of my essence infused and imprinted in every character, every scene, every word.
There is inspiration from a real person I have known in every character I create. The old cliché of “write what you know” really is true—if you want your writing to ring true.
In the case of Caitlin the indirect sources of real life character influence are numerous and overlapping—I was raised by a strong-willed woman and have been among fearsome females my whole life. But there are three very specific, direct inspirations on Caitlin; a girl from childhood, someone from the young adult years, and a woman of the present day.
Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard
Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories are not just stories that you read. They are worlds you live in. They are images that you see and sounds you hear and the touch of flesh that you feel. When you read an action sequence in Robert E. Howard story, you feel it. Ever since I first gazed upon the Frank Frazetta cover paintings and cracked open my first Conan paperback, I became hooked on Howard’s visceral poetry.
Birds of Prey
I read a lot of comic books and graphic novels, but it is rare that I buy and read a title live each month fresh off the presses. During the early 2000’s, DC Comic’s “Birds of Prey” was such a title. I never missed an issue. When Gail Simone was scripting the book, Ed Benes drawing it, and Greg Land doing the covers, it was a femme fatale feast of kick ass girl power.
The Black Canary character is a huge influence on Caitlin Star, and to a lesser extent Huntress. At least from a philosophical point of view, Caitlin has some Poison Ivy in her. Barbara Gordon as Oracle is a major inspiration for the Lori character in “Caitlin Star”.
The films of James Cameron
Or to be more specific, the women from the films. There has never been a male genre writer who can create dynamic, powerful, complex, strong-willed, fierce, kick-ass women the way Jim Cameron does. Ripley (Aliens), Sarah Conner (The Terminator), Dr. Lindsey Brigman (The Abyss), and Neytiri (Avatar) are as infused into the spirit of Caitlin as Cameron’s breathtaking action sequences and cinematic heart are to my storytelling style.
"Nikita" had an outstanding third season and heads into year four this fall with solid momentum and a loyal fan base. The show has always been a bit of a dark horse, flying under the radar on the CW network, often overshadowed by the network's other cult shows, "The Vampire Diaries" and the long running "Supernatural".
But make no mistake about it, "Nikita" is a kick ass show; an adrenaline-fueled, entertaining hour of high drama featuring a terrific cast anchored by former stunt professional turned actress Maggie Q as the title character. Nikita is a wonderful character and Maggie Q is sensational as the femme fatale action hero counterpart of Jack Bauer. This is the best version of "Le Femme Nikita" since Luc Besson's original.
Read the opening chapter of "Caitlin Star" here.