Angela Susan Anton wants the character to be smart. She wants the character to be a lot like herself. But most of all, she wants the character not to be killed off in the same sentence in which she is introduced.
For $1,800, that doesn't seem like a lot to ask.
That's the price Anton paid at a recent charity auction for the right to have a character named after her in a novel by best-selling author James Patterson featuring his detective Alex Cross.
"It was a lark," Anton, publisher of Anton Community Newspapers, the chain of Nassau county weekly newspapers, told us in explaining how she participated in the spirited bidding at the Nov. 3 Butterfly Ball sponsored by the Bellmore-based Guardian Brain Foundation. "It was something I was always interested in, and I got it and I was happy."
Since then, Anton has e-mailed Patterson, hoping at the very least for an interview when the novel comes out - as yet unnamed, it is scheduled for a September 2006 release - but also to provide some input. "They have not asked for any personal information," she said.
"I'm hoping I can be this wonderful heroine in something or crack the case when everybody is being killed, because I think in the Alex Cross [series], a lot of people are always killed," she said. "I just hope I'm not killed in the first sentence."
That doesn't seem likely; at least that's the impression we got from an e-mail from Mary Jordan, the Patterson assistant with whom Anton has been communicating. Jordan said Anton would have no input in shaping either the physical features or personality of the character, she added, "but Mr. Patterson said, 'The character is a whip-smart detective, and I'm sure Angela will approve.'"