Based on … inspired by

Published November 11, 2013 by A.J.B. Johnston

The words ‘based on’ — or inspired by — is a code phrase often used by film-makers. It allows them to claim a connection with a real person or event at the same time as they are re-shaping it pretty much as they want. I have to plead guilty to that charge as well. In both of my novels — one out and one to be released in 2014 — I go far beyond what the literal history of Thomas Pichon would allow. In Thomas, Secret Life I followed the rough chronology and sequence of events of the real personage’s life. In The Maze I stay true to the “essence” of Thomas Pichon’s ambitious, secretive and sensual personality, but I have done so at the expense of any known chronology of events. I have taken aspects of a period of Thomas’s life, the late 1750s and 1760s, and transposed it to the 1730s. That was simply because it worked better for me; nothing more complicated than that. It’s fiction, after all.

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