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05-19 Sarah Raplee – Riff on 7 yrs. Of SPAM & a Giveaway

Monday, April 8, 2013

I have a confession to make…

And it’s this; sometimes I will name characters after people in my family. I didn't even realize I was doing it until someone who knows me and my family pointed it out to me.
The only one who ever asked to be put in a book is my older brother’s wife.  I made her a secondary character in one of my books. A busy body detective who likes to talk. She likes to talk and ask questions but she’s not a detective and she was thrilled to be in the book.

I did name two characters in a book after two of my nieces. Of course they were much smarter than the characters I named after them and I said so in the dedication.

Anyone who knows me knows I have five brothers. I’m an only girl. Before you ask, whether or not I was spoiled depends on the day of the week or which brother you spoke to.

But I regress. After about five books, I got to wondering if any of them had read my books. I know my father had at least glanced through them. I had sent him copies of a couple of books. One brother told me he read one of my books. He answered enough questions correctly I could tell he wasn't lying. J However that still left four brothers. What to do…

Murder on Dark Fort Isle, was the book I would use to find out. I set the book in the neighborhood where we grew up. I thought they might be curious and read it. So I named three of the male characters after them. Did some nasty things to them. Published the book and waited, I’m still waiting. I know they haven’t read it because for sure one of them would have called me.

You would have thought that would break the habit, I sure did.  I recently published my first mystery, The Pink Lady. I received an email from a cousin asking if I had named the heroine after her mother. If I had it was a totally unconscious decision.
So I guess I hadn't overcome that habit. As long as no one complains then I think it will be all right.


Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

That's funny that you are still waiting for your brothers to comment on the book!

I don't name characters after family members but I use personalities of relatives to develop characters.

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Elaine, I also don't name characters after people I know but I do use composites of people I've known in my characters. In fact, I take a less seen quality of my own personality and amplify it for a character more than even using composites of other people. It helps me relate to their emotions and their situation better because I can more easily put myseslf in their shoes.

Very funny that your brothers haven't read your books. Do you think family who has read them, tells them their names are being used?

Paty Jager said...

That's a good one! The first book I wrote I killed a fictional person or the person I would have liked to see 6 feet under. I've only intentionally named a character after a family member once. That was the heroine in Bridled Heart. Other than that I try to avoid family names unless they are pretty generic.

But it sounds like you're having fun with your stories and family. Maybe one of these days you brothers will read the book.

Stephanie said...

Paty, that's priceless. I bet a sister would have read the book. I wrote my first book and had people I modeled characters after. Several have read it, but not one correctly identified their character. I didn't tell them. LOL

Diana Mcc. said...

I've never named a character after someone I know. Oh, wait, the good cop in my work in progress is after my sister, Sarah. LOL. In a short story for Free Reads I named the ghost Ella. Tried to think of a last name and ended up with Ella Fitzgerald! the names sounded good together, probably because Ella Fitzgerald is a famous singer!!!!

ElaineCharton said...

Enjoying everyone's posts. as most of my books are ebooks, including the one I used my brothers name in.I doubt anyone else will read it. Unless its one of my nieces. They don't like paranormal things, I have some cousins who may have read them but my brothers don't really talk to them.
My husbands family have read them and love them. My mother in law brags about us constantly.

I have used characteristics of people when drawing up characters. No one has recognized themselves.

ElaineCharton said...

If they ever do read them I'll let you know how it goes. :)

Shannon said...

I love the Pink Lady! I think that's my favorite book of yours.
I have named some of the secondary characters in my books--those that won't get their own story later--after family. And one main character after one of my best friends, (but she's done way worse than I could ever write into a character ;-).
Great post Elaine. Really got me thinking.

ElaineCharton said...

Thanks Shannon, you made my day! Pink Lady was fun to write. I'm working on a second one in that series titles The Cooks Stew.

Sarah Raplee said...

My son's fiancee is named Megan. The closest I came to naming a character like someone I know was Megaera Lewis, heroine of my first book. Both are called Meg for short.

I did choose my second heroine's physical description to match my daughter, but they have very different names.

Fun post!