Andy's ancestors . . .

Andy Fisher, the main character in The Helios Conspiracy, is a sarcastic, sardonic, and somewhat eccentric FBI agent. Where did he come from?

Or as most people put it: Is Andy Fisher based on a real person?

Sorry, but no - while I do have friends and acquaintances who work in or with the Bureau, he's not based on any of them. If he were, he would have been fired a long time ago.

Andy came from my head, springing whole, or mostly whole, like Athena from Zeus. Well, more like a cancerous and unsightly growth, but I've always been told as a writer to favor the more poetic metaphor.

He got there due to many different influences, thoughts and notions. Usually writers talk about literary traditions that have influenced them when discussing books. And that's certainly accurate here - I've read Crime & Punishment, not to mention just about everything Dashell Hammett and James M. Cain wrote. But some of my key influences weren't literary. and that's especially true when it comes to Andy.

It occurred to me while flipping through Netflix the other day that my character's real forebears were detectives in the sometimes cheesy 1970s television shows I watched as reruns (re-reruns or whatever) in college. Every afternoon when I was home, one of my housemates would drag me over to the TV to check out the Rockford Files, et al. Somehow, those episodes stuck.

OK, there was beer involved, so maybe I wasn't exactly dragged. And watching the episodes now may not exactly reveal a direct line from them to Helios. But I can see the crooked line . . .

Here's Jim Rockford, in one of his classic moves:

Rockford again, just as cool:

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