The Cherries

Barry's Cherries by Todd AWelcome to the today’s installment of “Barry’s Cherries: Behind the Scenes.” Since it’s late on Monday Tuesday as I post this and I’ve told some meaty stories in the past couple of weeks, I figured I’d just fill you in on some of the characters in the story.

In the novel, Barry has just begun filming his latest series of Barry’s Cherries — a line of DVDs that he sells on the internet and through late-night infomercials. The DVDs feature a group of female models who, under somewhat ridiculous circumstances, remove their clothes. Barry’s videos are mostly modeled on Playboy videos of the 80s and 90s. (I honestly don’t know if Playboy still produces its line of soft-focus Playmate videos in the age of Girls Gone Wild but they were video classics.)

Barry, director of such b-movie classics as Pantyless Pledge Week and Stick Shift, is an entertainer not a pornographer. He prefers light-hearted, soft-focus T&A to anything hard-core. The Playmate videos are right up his alley — erotic but silly, sexy but safe. Such is the standard he applies to Barry’s Cherries.

The stars of his videos — the Cherries — occupy a sort of nebulous world between legitimate models and actress and, you know, the not legitimate kind. They’re the kind of girls who would normally work car shows but caught a break by meeting Barry. Not that there’s anything wrong with working car shows. They’re just not models of the ilk that Tyra would kick all over Europe.

I actually based the Cherries on real people. Sort of. As I mentioned when telling the story of Trinity, a lot of “basing” a character on a real person is just inventing characteristics that fall in line with one perception of that person. I wouldn’t say the Cherries in any way reflect the people I interviewed and used for material. But what helped me a lot is knowing exactly what the Cherries looked like. When we were working on the cover, I even offered to send John Cox photos of the Cherries but, like a pro, he declined. He didn’t want any preconceptions. And I didn’t really want him to have any.

The models I interviewed and used as, um, models for the Cherries were in the same stratum as the Cherries themselves. They worked locally and on the internet. They worked car shows. They posed for sketchy webzines. They weren’t runway models at all. Just ordinary girls living a dream. It was interesting to talk to them. It gave me a glimpse at another industry (like writing, like music) where people work a day job just to follow what they want to do. A lot of the women (and maybe this was purely my imagination) sort of got into character for the interview. But several were just themselves and completely down to earth. You can see this in the novel. Jo is the type to get into character. Blair is simply down to earth.

If you’d like to read more about the adventures of the Cherries, buy a copy of Barry’s Cherries on Kindle or in paperback.