Writer and editor

The Godfather Was A Girl

20 Aug 2012 by Paz, Comments Off on The Godfather Was A Girl

Real people who inspired famous and infamous characters.

‘It’s hard work for novelists to conjure up compelling characters purely from their imaginations, so it’s not surprising to learn that many of them draw on real life for their inspiration. This fascinating book delves into the bottom drawer of authors, screenwriters and playwrights and uncovers the flesh-and-blood people, animals and even objects that inspired the world’s favourite fictional characters.’
Good Reading Magazine

‘This book’s the perfect dip-in-and-out bath-time reading. Get it now!’

‘Thoroughly entertaining … A wonderful tome.’ *****
King Island Courier

‘Interesting stuff.’
The Weekend Today Show

Illawarra Mercury


‘An interesting and wide-ranging compilation which will probably offer a few surprises.’
Canberra Times

‘This is the book I wish was around when I was growing up, because then I would’ve read at least one.’
Sam Pang

‘This book is like a giant, rabid, supernatural, zombie dog – you won’t be able to put it down.
Shaun Micallef

‘A witty compilation’
Jane Sullivan, The Age



‘Originality, says Voltaire, ‘is nothing but judicious imitation’. Something old dressed up as something new, with a different backstory and more modish name.

‘That is correct,’ says Eamon Evans (no doubt to Voltaire’s relief). When a would-be writer sits down at their desk, inspiration so often simply fails to strike. They might scratch their head for a bit: nothing. Then stare at the wall for a while … even less. Whether they’ve working with a stone and a chisel, a quill and a parchment, or the very latest in fancy-pants iPads, anyone who has ever tried to write fiction has known what it is to write nothing at all.

Inspiration, however, might just be behind the wall. On the toilet, perhaps, or mowing the lawn. It could be hiding in a history book, nestling in a newspaper or teaching chemistry at your children’s school.

Whether or not life imitates are, this is to say, art very often imitates life. Behind many a fictional character lurks a person who really lived – someone who, simply by existing, inspired a writer to create a certain character, equip them with a certain quality or place them in a particular plight.

To take a few examples, we all know that Seinfeld’s Kramer and George were drawn from real people, but so too were Sherlock Holmes and Jughead Jones, Ali G and Mick Dundee. There’s a real Mr Burns and a real Mr Big. Harry really did meet Sally and Will really does know Grace. Even Jaws, Moby Dick and Winnie the Pooh were based on an actual shark, an authentic whale and a real live bear.

To take almost 400 examples, you first need to buy this book. The real Godfather, you will discover, was actually a mother; the real Lady Macbeth was actually quite nice. Anne of Green Gables was inspired by a chorus girl and Big Brother was based on a businessman. King Kong started out as a lizard and Chewbacca began life as a dog.

In short, you’re in for some nasty shocks. Find a comfy chair to feel faint in, and say farewell to your inner child. This is real life.

(the real) Eamon Evans.


Where to buy

Australia and NZ: Booktopia
UK:  Amazon UK
USA: Amazon US

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