MAKING OF A CHARACTER
Barbara introduced me to her husband, Virgil Casey, one evening at a dance recital. There was no doubt he was a special man. Virg and Barbara were an obvious match made in heaven; a wonderful example of what a marriage is supposed to be.
Virg had one of those tomato-face smiles that remind me of my dad, and a captivating, engaging personality. A group of us struck up a fun conversation that prevented the usual boredom of waiting for the show to begin.
I remember we talked about some old TV shows. One ancient but great show called “My Living Doll” came to mind. We were all struggling to remember who the main character was. We all recalled that the robot was played by Julie Newmar, but drew a blank on the male lead, who Virg finally remembered was Robert Cummings. I don’t know why that conversation still lingers in my mind after all these years.
Virg was interested in learning about my book. He came to a book signing at Los Alamitos High School and purchased one. He loved my book and wrote a great review for me when it was under the original title,
“Gray/Guardians” (no longer in print), but was revised and is now published as “Earth’s Ultimate Conflict.” The thing that made Virg’s review so special was that it wasn’t asked for… it was from his heart. He made me feel so special when he spoke of my work.
One Fourth of July evening, I was walking my dog and saw Virg. He and Barbara were visiting their daughter Becci and her girls. They planned to watch the fireworks from across the street at the Joint Forces Training Base. He asked about my writing. Then Virg brought some kids over and introduced me to them as an author! An author!! He made me finally feel that the title of “author” belonged to me.
Virg told me he couldn’t wait for my first book to become a movie and that he intended to work on it. Besides my family, he was the one person who made me realize people believe in my work.
There was a pride in my writing Virg gave me, along with the inspiration to continue when things kept falling apart. During gloomy times when my book marketing failed, distribution was a struggle, not receiving my royalties, etc., one person would come to mind—Virgil Casey. He was waiting for the next book. I needed to press forward and make it happen. Of all my readers, Virg was the one who inspired me to create another book despite all odds. I didn’t want to let him down because he believed in me.
Virg had this sort of exuberance. He had the special ability to pass it on to others. It never failed; when you saw Virg he glowed from within; a love of life, a love of family, a love of God…. wherever it came from, he had a magnificent radiance. He was a beacon in the fog of life. Virg had IT.
It is with great joy I have added Virgil Casey as a character in my second book, Escape From Nuur. He comes with his own set of rules and sometimes we spar when it comes to what he is going to do next in the chapter. You see, Virg is still full of life and has his own personality. If I’m going in one direction with another character and Virg see him differently and has other ideas, well let’s just say Virg has crashed more than one chapter with his inspiration and insight into the character that I didn’t realize was there. Virg sees the complexities of their situation far sooner than I do sometimes.
Virg owns Casey’s Pub and Café on the planet Nuur. In one chapter he made it clear he wanted his “Vanilla Vodka” Babs, as he called her, with him—he won, because he’s Virg. I have learned to let Virg tell me his part of the story and go from there.
As in life, Virg continues to be the guiding star, the seeker of truth, and the messenger of God in the Gray Guardians Series. He continues to amaze me with his awareness and clarity.
I imagine Virg in all the other books in my series. He has brought such humanity to an alien planet, but there are no guarantees because Virg is Virg and he does things his way.
Rest in peace, Virgil Casey, you are a man of inspiration!