The Temporal Characters: Sam’s Backstory
When developing characters, it is always a good idea to create a history of that character even if it is never used in a novel. The third book in The Temporal series (tentatively called, #TemporalJustice) involves a total of 15 Temporal “superheroes” as well as two new villains. I’ve started sketching out their backgrounds, and I got the idea to post them here just for fun.
If you’ve read The Temporal, you’ll know Sam Williams is the star of the show. If you haven’t read The Temporal and would like to, please grab a FREE copy at Amazon.com (click here). It has seven good reviews (4 or 5 stars) and if you like super hero stories (X-Men, Bat-man, Avengers) or Science Fiction/Thrillers, give it a chance and then please let me know what your thoughts are.
Sam was born in Hattiesburg, MS while his father’s U.S. Navy Seabee unit was conducting Field Training Exercises at Camp Shelby, but they soon moved to Alabama and then Hawaii by the time Sam was three. When he moved to Japan at age eight, he hadn’t been in one place for more than 18 months. His father was stationed at Yokosuka Navy Base in Japan for five years. For Sam, the five years in Japan meant Japan was the only home he really knew. Japan was, to Sam’s memory, safe and welcoming.
The father relocated the family to New Mexico when Sam was 13. Sam was angry he had to leave Japan and didn’t adjust well to life in the States. He began picking fights with children at each school he was placed in. Against his mother’s wishes, Sam’s father put him in a boarding school in Virginia. Sam rebelled more, but calmed down once he realized he only had a year until graduation. When he turned 18 and graduated, he moved as far away from his father as he could. His father was stationed in Hawaii again; Sam moved to Tampa, Florida.
Sam was cynical and angry and was content to work minimal wage jobs—perhaps just to spite his father. He was an unmotivated 20 something preferring to play games and watch TV than to do anything productive.
In Tampa, he met a man in his 60s, Mr. Richards, who mentored him (a surrogate father). He was always “Mr.” Richards to Sam; the man taught Sam to respect his elders and to desire to make himself better. This man encouraged and even helped pay for Sam to go to college. Mr. Richards taught Sam industry and patience, calming the angry young man down. Mr. Richards made Sam dress like a gentleman and use correct English. (Sam had been rough with his language.) Sam, eager for a loving father figure, grew to love and respect Mr. Richards as if he were his real father.
Sam still dreamed of going back to Japan and with the support of Mr. Richards, he chose Teaching English as a Second Language as his major. He took a Japanese class which further renewed his interest in all things Japan. Upon graduating, Sam applied to the JET program twice. Both times, he wasn’t chosen. He started working as a sales clerk at a Macy’s department store in Tampa while continuing to apply for positions teaching English in Japan. He also volunteered at an English school for international students called, “The English House.”
Mr. Richards forced Sam to contact his father after a relative told Sam his mother had passed away. They agreed to meet in Colorado—halfway. The meeting at an airport coffee shop was cold and short, ending with Sam storming out after his father said, under his breath, that he wasn’t surprised Sam hadn’t done anything with his life. They hadn’t even left the airport. Sam refused to call or make contact with his father again (until Suteko makes him call him at some point.)
He met his wife by serving her at Macy’s and a month later, they were married. She was five years younger than him and at 20, she was smitten by Sam’s (age 25) good looks and sharp dress. He had received a firm offer of a position as an assistant professor of English at Fukuoka Jogokuin. But his wife had no desire to leave the country. Wanting to please his wife, Sam gave up looking for jobs teaching English. Sam also gave up volunteering at The English House and started taking night classes to get a more useful (for living in the States) degree in business management.
His wife’s father (owned a successful creamery) offered him a managerial position at the creamery. At first, Sam declined the offer knowing he didn’t have the right experience and his pride didn’t want a job that was just an unmerited family favor. After a year, however, Sam’s wife convinced him to accept it or else she would leave him. Sam’s sales clerk salary couldn’t support the kind of lifestyle she had been accustomed to. Sam quit school and took the job.
Sam hated it. The employees, all of whom were older and more experienced than he, resented Sam. His wife belittled Sam often, told him he wasn’t good enough for her and that because he had wasted his schooling on a useless degree, he would never amount to anything unless he did everything her father told him to do. Sam countered by explaining that he had given up a good career job in Fukuoka for her. Everything that went wrong was always his fault.
Sam’s anger from his youth resurfaced, but Mr. Richards helped him through each challenge. Sam learned to grin and bare each time his wife angrily accused him of something. She would often apologize to him the next day—sometimes tearfully, but it was clear, she had little respect for him.
But Sam’s mentor died when Sam was 33 and relations with his wife became worse. She no longer apologized and it seemed hard for either of them to speak to each other peacefully.
Then, one day, he found an email on his wife’s computer. Sam confronted her and she blamed Sam for driving her into the arms of another man. She demanded a divorce and Sam’s father-in-law fired Sam, accusing Sam of cheating on his daughter.
This was all too much for Sam who decided to throw the past away and go to Japan. They had no kids and Sam hated her cat. His mother and Mr. Richards were dead. There was nothing good left, except his positive memories of Japan, his childhood home.
He goes to Japan to return home. He arrives but instead of being welcomed, he realizes he is just one among millions of strangers. His trip to Hiroshima and to Ishikawa only make him depressed and angry.
And then the earthquake brought the echoes and Suteko…