In the course of Percival’s Planet,  Clyde Tombaugh interacts with a guy called Alan Barber — an astronomer at Lowell — and his increasingly troubled wife Mary.  This never really happened.

The real story is, Alan and Mary are actually versions of my grandparents — although as I say elsewhere my grandparents never lived in Arizona and never had anything to do with Planet X.   When I started writing this book, I had no idea it would end up being about Clyde Tombaugh or Planet X at all.  Instead, the novel began with my attempt to rewrite  my grandparents’ troubled marriage.

The best laid plans, etc.

my grandfather – “Alan Barber”

“Alan is a foot shorter, and dark-eyed, and wears his hair like Valentino, and believes he gives a better first impression…”

my grandmother – “Mary Barber”

“She is a very pretty girl, and a moment later it is evident she is in fact a true beauty, her milk-white skin flushed across the cheeks with red, her eyes blue and lively, and her lips a double pink bow…”