This morning I received a reply in response to a previous blog post, one in which I had talked about Martin and music. This reader pointed out that a Phyllis Naylor book, one of her "Alice" series, was dedicated to "Martin Small"...and, knowing that Phyllis and I are friends, the reader wondered if that could be "my" Martin. Indeed it was. Martin had helped her out with some chamber music information for that book (and Ithink she named a musician character for him)
Later, my brother, a doctor, provided some "field amputation" information to Phyllis for a book called "Blizzard." So Jon (who actually did once have to amputate a leg caught in a farm tractor) is in the acknowledgements.
Later still, Phyllis allowed me to use an old family photograph in my book "The Silent Boy," which is illustrated with old photos. So she appears in the acknowledgements, along with her husband (whose family photo it actually was).
Earlier, and just to show that it isn't only Phyllis and me who play this back-and-forth game, I dedicated a book, "The One Hundredth Thing about Caroline", to Michael Small from People Magazine. Michael, who was Martin's nephew, appeared (with his permisison, and People's legal staff's permisison) in the book....
...and so it goes. Two of the second graders in the Gooney Bird series (Beanie and Chelsea) are named for my granddaughter and the illustrator's granddaughter.
I imagine almost every writer in the world has named book characters for people they know, or are related to. And of course then there are the innocent coincidences, like the time I named Anastasia Krupnik's nerdy friend Robert Giannini...and then heard from the Rev. Robert Giannini, who ws not at all upset, just curious.
Speaking of names. Two friends have newborn grandsons. One is named Dash. The other Milo. I have known golden retrievers with both those names.