Yes, Jasper Jarman. He is the personage principal, he is the main character, and he is the main man. He narrates the story in the first person, initially in the past tense, and later, well … let’s wait until later. He lives for the moment, and the other moment as well. He is not an easy one to keep inside four walls, and spends a little time here and there, knocking down one, two, three or four of them.
People ask me if he is me, and I will be very clear on this point. He is decidedly not me. Apart from the bits that are me. He is a lot of characters and stories. True stories and other types as well.
Why Jasper Jarman? Aside from the fact that alliteration is still one of the coolest iterations going round, it is his name, the one he chose, and the one he was given. My muse tells me that his name sounds a bit like the French word “j’espère”, and there really may be something there.
What does he look like? A lot of my readers have been asking me that question. Of course the answer generally is, what do you think he looks like? They always give the correct answer, which happens to be different every time.
At the start of the first book, in the year 2068, he is forty something, and is divorced from his wife and on bad terms with his life. He is average to tall, with average to good looks, and an average to bad sense of humour. He is in pretty good shape, considering the battering he gives his body on a regular basis. While marching to the beat of his own drum.
If it is of any help at all, I was frequently thinking of Charlie Sheen while writing the first draft, and later threw in a bit of Vincent Cassel, Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugh Laurie and Colin Farrell.
He is a doctor, and can on occasion be an upstanding citizen, but only for brief flashes of time, and only when upstanding. He has a serious problem with drugs and alcohol, which he acknowledges with insouciance, and lime and bitters.
He has an ambiguous and dysfunctional relationship with all of the women in his world, and most of the men. His best friend is a robotic bird.
He has no truck with political correctness, rules, signs and straight lines, and has a truck load of one liners for any moment requiring aggression, repression or regression.
He defends vigorously what he is and fights hard to be something different. He wants to be something different. He wants the world to be something different.
Didn’t you ever meet someone with massive quantities of talent and charm, who is smart and funny and absolutely capable of anything, and is also something of a mess?
Jasper is the prototype combo package of impossibly primitive and the improbably futuristic. He is passion, with plenty of cause.
He is a colourful character, albeit with oodles of noir. And his past is rapidly catching up with him. The crimes and misdemeanours are many and varied, and a tipping point is just around the corner.
He is a guy with a whole lot of problems, and maybe traveling away, far, far away is his least worse chance of finding what he needs to find and being where he needs to be. And so he begins his journey in time. He has many eras to go before he can sleep.