Caroll O’Connor = Sheriff Buford Tate


One of the most asked questions I get as a writer is, “where do you come up with your ideas?”

If you were in a room of 100 writers and asked this question, odds are you’d get 100 different answers. I can only answer for me.

My ideas come from everyday life. I listen. I never know when a title will emerge from every day conversation. This is what happened with The Church of the Howling Moon, aka Daughter of the Howling Moon. The story, however came directly from the spirit of Bethany Ann. As I have often said, I channel my characters. How does this work?

I’m a TV and movie nut, therefore spirits will flash pictures of movie and TV stars they closely resemble in my head. Sometimes it isn’t the physical look they’re going for but the personality of that character in a particular role. Clear as mud? Let me explain.

In Daughter of the Howling Moon, the sheriff of St. Clair Parish is Buford Tate. I wrote, “Leaned back in his tattered office chair, boots propped up on the desk, hands laced behind his head, Buford Tate was the perfect picture of a backwoods parish sheriff.” Before I could finish the sentence the spirits flashed a picture of the actor Caroll O’Connor in my head.

Caroll O’Connor was a great character actor. His role as Archie Bunker in All in the Family is classic. In The Heat of the Night he played a the role of a backwoods southern policeman. I confess, I’ve never seen the movie but I modeled Buford Tate off of Caroll O’Connor in that role. Mr. O’Connor is no longer with us but if he were, and when they make the movie of Daughter of the Howling Moon, Caroll O’ Connor would be cast as Sheriff Buford Tate.

We writers often daydream and wonder what movie/TV personality would be cast as our characters. Sheriff Buford Tate was easy. I’m still searching for Bethany Ann and Benjamin. Perhaps some unknown would be cast in these roles?

And a star will be born.

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