This is a tough question for me. I’m not sure if I’m unusual in this, but while I write fiction, I tend to read non-fiction, so my favorite "characters" are more typically real people like Desmond Doss (if you don’t know who this man is, google him now. I’ll wait…) or Louie Zamperini (whose story is told so well in "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand). As I write this it strikes me that one thing both these men have in common was a sense of faith. While Doss’s actions arose from a deep abiding faith, Zamperini took the long road to get to a place of similar trust in his God.

That being said, one of the most real characters I’ve ever read in a book was Gus McCrae in "Lonesome Dove." An engaging, brave, competent man, he was also flawed and egotistical. In other words, just like us. I loved Atticus Finch, from "To Kill a Mockingbird," especially when I was younger, but I realize now that I wanted to have that kind of understanding, idealized father for myself as a teen.

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