Most of the time I am in charge of what goes into a story but every now and then the characters themselves take over. Sometimes I know when it is happening, sometimes the characters slip it by without my noticing.
Professor Lothrop is the father of my protagonist, Emily Lawrence. I have named the four recurring characters of Emily’s parent’s generation after my own family members. The Stevens, next door are named after my own parents, Elizabeth and Henry. Those names have stuck. Emily’s parents are Arthur and Emma after my paternal grandfather and my maternal grandmother. Emma has been fine with her name, though my grandmother though it old fashioned. It’s the professor who has been giving me the most trouble.
I have written more than 50 short stories and four novels with Emily as the point of view character. Her family and the Stevens don’t appear in all of them. I keep an extensive list of characteristic for everyone. Dates of birth, eye color, what they take in their coffee. Because some appear so infrequently, I have to refer to it often.
I’m not sure how Emily’s father slipped through. As I said, he started out as Arthur, but then, when I wasn’t looking, he changed his name to Albert. This would not do, too close to another character who seemed satisfied with his name: Alfred Cox.
I didn’t have any need to argue with Arthur/Albert, since he wasn’t going to appear in print any time soon, so I left him with whatever name he preferred. That is no longer an option. I have compiled a collection of Emily short stories and have signed a contract with Wildside Press. The issue of this name must be settled NOW.
Father Lothrop appears in the first two stories. Edits on the first story went smoothly, but then in story two, suddenly and unexpectedly, there is Elbert. I suspect Elbert will be his final choice. In real life Elbert is my great grandfather. It is also a more uncommon name than most of my characters have found for themselves.
Please, sir, be satisfied with this name.