Alottabotz: a new children's book series from Lynn.

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Real People

Over the years, Lynn has incorporated many of her family and friends into the strip, as main or secondary characters, for cameos or as content consultants. Here we introduce the faces behind the strip!

Mervyn and Ursula Ridgway

Grandpa Jim and Grandma Marian, Elly's parents, are based on Lynn's own mother and father, Mervyn and Ursula Ridgway. Mervyn was a watchmaker and jeweler, and Ursula was a talented calligrapher. They were married shortly after World War II and settled in Collingwood, Ontario before moving to British Columbia.

Like Grandpa Jim, Lynn's father was a guitarist—and both he and Ursula loved to dance.

Lynn's mother passed away, after battling cancer, in 1991. Lynn admired the courage and humour with which her mom faced the end of her life, and paid tribute to Ursula in these strips. Her father is also deceased, but Grandpa Jim lives on in the strip. Lynn remembers her parents as funny, generous and creative people and is happy to be able to keep her memories alive through Jim's character.

Aaron and Kate Johnston
Many readers of FBorFW know that Katherine Elizabeth and Aaron Michael Johnston are the models for Elly and John's children, however not everyone is aware that Aaron and Kate are far different from their comics counterparts. In the past, Lynn took inspiration from their childhood antics, but Aaron and Kate have lives and career paths of their own which are totally separate from Liz's and Michael's.

Katie is an artist (and the sculptor who created our Ned Tanner doll!) who used to teach skiing and snowboarding in Whistler, BC. She is now the president of Lynn's businss. Aaron operates a video production business based in Vancouver. Aaron has remarked that he sees more similarities between himself and Jo Weeder than he does between himself and Michael.

Beth and Don Cruikshank
Beth and Don are Lynn's sister-in-law and brother-in-law. The pair inspired "Aunt Bev" and "Uncle Dan" in the strip—Manitoba farmers who happily hosted all of the Patterson children and introduced them to rural life. Beth is a witty and talented writer who helped Lynn with the text for the book Suddenly Silver.

Don and Beth's daughters have also appeared in the strip—their girls Lauren, Arli, and Christine are the models for Laura, April's cousin, who is studying to become a vet—and allowed April to help out at a veterinary practice in the summers of 2006 and 2007.

Ralph Johnston
Ralph, Lynn's brother-in-law, occupies a special place in the strip as the inspiration for Lawrence's Story. When Ralph came out, he chose Lynn as his first confidante, and Lynn felt very honoured. When it came time for Lawrence to tell his friends and family that he, too, was gay, Lynn asked Ralph to help her tell Lawrence's story in a compassionate and accurate manner. (Read Lawrence's Story here.

Steph H.
Stephanie is Lynn's niece, and the person who inspired the character Shannon Lake. (Learn more about Shannon here). Steph has kindly helped to develop Shannon's personality and appearance. She has shared her story with many people through the strip, and also through her blossoming career as a public speaker.

The McLeod-Shabogesics
Lynn met Perry McLeod-Shabogesic several years ago when they were both asked to join a committee at the local college. Perry is a cartoonist and a citizen of the Anishinabek First Nation; he lives on Nipissing First Nation with his family.

Lynn has had a lifelong admiration for Canada's aboriginal people, and wanted Elizabeth to spend some time teaching in a Northern Ontario native community. To make sure that she was depicting her fictional first nation accurately, she asked Perry, his wife Laurie, and their family for help. You can learn more about the creation of Mtigwaki here. Perry and Laurie have each appeared in the strip; Laurie as a local woman who teaches language and traditional crafts, and Perry as an attendee at one of the village's pow-wows. It was Laurie who named Liz's cat, Shiimsa—the word means "little friend from the animal kingdom".

Adam Anawasse
Lynn met Adam at the annual Pow-Wow on Nipissing First Nation. He looked intimidating and impressive, standing well over six feet tall in his warrior's regalia with blood-red tears painted on his face. Lynn approached Adam and asked to take a picture of him—he obliged, then in a perfect deadpan voice and without cracking a smile, said "that'll be ten bucks." Adam, a young man from Moosonee, based his regalia on traditional male dress, with some added samurai elements. He explained that the designs on his face were meant to help him see and speak the truth. Lynn put Adam in the strip, and his image contributed a great deal of realism and beauty to the Mtigwaki Pow-Wow series.

Paul Gauthier
Paul Gauthier made his first appearance in FBorFW in the early nineties, when his contracting company arrived at the Pattersons' house to build an addition. Lynn has known the "real" Paul Gauthier for many years—he is a skilled builder who has worked on many projects for the Johnstons. His unmistakeable accent translated well into the comic, even leading to some complaints from people who thought Lynn was making fun of the French!

Paul tells the story of the day he phoned one of Lynn's readers to personally address the man's concern about the strip, proving that Lynn did in fact know a French-Canadian contractor and that he does indeed address her as "Madame" from time to time.

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