I mentioned in a post last week, one of the things I did in one of the early chapters of House Valerius was include a cameo appearance by two of the main characters from my first (unfinished) novel.
There was no real reason to do it. At this time, I can’t really see myself going back to that early attempt and trying to finish it. So it’s not like it’s going to draw anyone to that book or anything like that.
The truth is, I did it because I love little touches like that. And that extends to whether it’s in books, comic books or films.
There are a number of authors I like/love that will have characters flow between book to book; a large part in one, a small part in another, a one page appearance in another. Elmore Leonard is one that comes to mind, James Ellroy is another. And I always loved spotting the jokes & references in Terry Pratchett‘s Discworld books.
And then there are some who delight (or so it seems to me) in putting other authors characters into their work for the sole purpose of letting people like me have the fun of trying to spot them. One of my favorite books, which I first read twenty years ago, is Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. I won’t go into the plot too much (I included the link for that) but it includes a large number of cameos, both historical and fictional. But perhaps the greatest example of this is The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comic series by Alan Moore. There are enough references, cameos and the like to have spawned a website and even entire books detailing them all.