I have had a character named after me in a short story about Captain Von Trapp invading Paris in a submarine. It’s part of a delightful series called Stories Under Paris: an ambitious project to write a story for each one of the hundreds of Métro stations. The result so far is a collection of whimsical, joyous fantasies; my favourite (again, so far) is The Story of the Un-Drowned Princess for Château d’Eau. Although of course I’m always going to have a soft spot now for Léon Gambetta and the Battle of the Métro, for Midshipman Jowitt’s sake.
Midshipman Jowitt exists because I supported the author on Patreon, which, if you haven’t already heard of it, is a sort of crowd-funding site to support artists. Like other crowd-funders like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, the creator can choose to set perks according to the level of funding the individual supporter chooses to pay. And one of the rewards at the level I chose to support was to get a character named after me, though I have to admit that this had very little to do with my decision to become a patron. That was more because I love the whole concept of Stories Under Paris and am keen to see it continue for all three hundred and something stations. And if all this is sounding fearfully extravagant, well, I could easily spend more on a magazine, for writing I enjoyed less.
I have to admit to having some reservations about Patreon – not least, the way that it’s going to turn into a pyramid scheme for artists if only artists use it – but I can also see its potential, to provide a sustainable income for full-time writers, composers, etc, or to cover the costs of a hobby. Whatever, being a supporter has worked out pretty well for me.