Apparently, Imogen Trager, the heroine of my books, Faithless Elector and Dark Network has a larger online presence than I do!
When a friend recently took a Facebook personality test, it concluded that my friend should consider becoming an FBI agent. Jokingly, I suggested she change her name to Imogen Trager–who is an FBI Agent.
My friend felt she knew the name (she has read the book), but Googled it nevertheless. To her (and my!) surprise, Imogen has quite a large online presence. In fact, Imogen Trager has a larger, more consistent online presence than I have.
I find I’m a bit jealous.
Or is it darker than that?
All writers hope their characters have a life “beyond the page.” We hope they seem real. I remember one of the highest compliments I received some 25 years ago was from an acquaintance who told me how at a dinner party he’d started telling a story about something that had happened to a friend of his.
But as he told the story, he later related to me, he realized he was talking about a scene from the book I was writing back then, and the “friend” he was talking about was a character in the book he had read.
Why did that earlier instance make me feel good, where this leaves me troubled? Am I a modern-day Major Kovalyov, obsessed with status and rank?
In Nikolai Gogol’s absurdist short story, “The Nose,” Major Kovalyov’s nose goes missing and ends up living a better life than he, its owner. Kovalyov frets and seethes because his nose achieves greater social rank (status) than he ever had himself.
Perhaps the difference between now and 25 years ago is the nature of status: how it’s achieved, and what it represents. In the indy-publishing business, we live by ‘mentions,’ ‘likes,’ and ‘follows;’ by ‘shares,’ author- and sales rankings–all of it contributing to our rank (our “status?”) in search engines. To be on page two of the search results is almost as bad as not existing.
I think it must be the exclusivity of her presence on the search results page that bothers me. Her rank is such that the first two pages of search results relate to her and no one else; whereas I have to share my “james mccrone” presence with a musician, an insurance broker in London (they seem like very nice people) and an ad for Ancestry.com.
Will Imogen and her red hair continue this life of their own? Will her status grow and mine wane?
Or am I just losing my mind?
Find them through Indybound.org.