Jeff's character was modeled on some of the personality traits and actions of my brother Donovan and Leif, so I've been talking a lot about Leif this week and showing a photo of him, along with other photos of people in our family who influenced the characters in the book.
I talk about how Leif, at the age of eleven, didn't really like doing school work, much like Jeff. He didn't mind going to school, he just minded it "following him home." He hated homework. And, like Jeff, he liked to find some way to put his own, original "stamp" on an assignment.
Leif also chose the little kitten that we named Scamp, who became our favorite cat. Scamp was full of fun and we all loved his antics. The kids love hearing about them and how they came to influence the character of Mortimer in the book.
How I love this photo of Leif and Scamp, who provided us with many hours of entertainment and affection. Leif, at eleven, cuddling that little rascal, and wearing his signature black leather Members Only jacket, in the days before he wore glasses, the days before he knew he couldn't achieve his dream of becoming a pilot, the days when he and his friend Robert would come home after school and ask what was happening the the book NOW, and I would read them the latest chapter, the days when they would snicker over it and give me ideas about how to make it better.
Imagicat will always be linked in my mind to Leif, Scamp, and my brother. I'm glad I can share it with over three hundred children this week.