10/08/2012 09:36 am ET Updated Dec 08, 2012

Nick and Jake and Everyone We Know

Like corporations, fictional characters are people too, my friend, as we realized when we discovered we were related to two of them. Josiah (Jeb) Bartlett, the president-hero of The West Wing, is descended from our New Hampshire ancestor of the same name who signed the Declaration of Independence. And in an episode of Scooby-Doo, Shaggy goes back to his roots, the Rogers family of Plymouth, MA, which is also our family. With this discovery came the revelation that there was no reason why fictional characters had to stick within the confines of their own books. Perhaps, like the Internet, they wanted to be free.

So in our new novel, Nick & Jake (Arcade Publishing), we gave Nick (The Great Gatsby) Carraway and Jake (The Sun Also Rises) Barnes the freedom to reach middle age, and to meet and become friends in 1953, at the height of the McCarthy Era. They also cross paths with Larry Darrell (The Razor's Edge), Thomas Fowler and Alden Pyle (The Quiet American), Irving Sheinbloom (A Mighty Wind), Lamont Cranston (The Shadow) and Mary Richards (The Mary Tyler Moore Show). But while it's not widely known, there have been many other such friendships between liberated fictional characters. Here are a few:

Fiction Characters Who Would Be Friends