The Color Red: Bleeding Facts into Fiction

The history of the novel has been characterized by unending experimentation. However, one thing has remained constant. Novels are based on facts, real-world details that are twisted and turned to spin a story.

Every work of fiction sits on a fact-fiction continuum. On one end of the continuum there is pure fact; on the other, pure invention. Much of any novel sits somewhere in between.

What about The Color Red? What facts bleed into its fiction? The novel’s main murderee, Rollo Novak, loosely resembles Robert Herjavec; Novak’s business associate, Karlos Vega, loosely resembles Kevin O’Leary. Readers might recognize the names: Herjavec and O’Leary appeared on Dragon’s Den in Canada and now appear on Shark Tank in the US. However, the resemblance isn’t crucial to the story. Novak’s first wife, Melanya, was born in Slovenia. She might remind readers of a First Lady named Melania, who was also born in Slovenia. Of course, while Melanya Novak may mirror someone – anyone – she’s just a character in a novel. As copyright disclaimers say, “Any resemblance to actual persons is entirely coincidental.”

Then there’s Detective Lt. Ivy Bourque, the main character in the novel as well as the series. She’s not based on anyone “factual”; however, she is a prototypical New Englander: amiable, capable, and perceptive. On her father’s side, her French-Canadian heritage pays homage to Jack Kerouac, whose parents migrated from Quebec to Massachusetts in the early 1900s.

One final note for aficionados of fact-in-fiction and true crime stories. The main crime scene in The Color Red, an indoor pool, echoes the crime scene of a recent double murder in Toronto, Canada: the Barry and Honey Sherman murders. Echoes, I say. Okay, I’ve said enough. 😉 If I keep going, I’ll leak some spoilers.

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