The principal character, Jesse Logan is a product of necessity. The name was borrowed from Bob’s great grandfather, Jesse Logan Winter and his personal characteristics are borrowed partly from his son, Lt JG Robert Winter, Jr., a Coast Guard pilot who was killed in 1981.There was also the need for a distinctive appearance that could give overly enthusiastic news reporters some descriptive material, and the intelligence gatherers of the day a basis for tracking his activity.

Several of the other characters are replications of people Bob knows or has known in his own life. In writing the story, Bob found that he could usually plot the path that the various members of the cast were to take, but occasionally he found that they would proceed in unanticipated directions and all that the author could do would be to follow along and write it down.