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Opinions requested: using family/children’s names as character names

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Hello and thank you in advance if you can help. I am struggling with whether to use grandchildren  names in my picture book... I do have permission but I wonder if any of you have used a friend or family member’s name in the past and either you or the other person has later regretted it? This is my first of a series of PB’s so I want to get it right.
#1 - March 02, 2021, 01:57 PM

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This could turn out beautifully or really bad. Some things to consider:

-How many grandchildren do you have? or will you eventually have?
-Can you reasonably expect to use all of their names in your books?
-Given the difficulty of getting published, what will you do if one or two books in the series are accepted, but the others aren't?
-How will it affect your relationship with the children and parents of children whose names you don't use?
-If you use just one name, will the rest of your family think you have a favorite?
-If your book becomes wildly successful (You never know.), does your grandchild want to share her name with the world?
-Does the child who's name you use want to be associated with the character you create?

What seems like a loving gesture to you, may seem like something else to others. OTOH, you know your family and I don't. It might work out well for you.
#2 - March 02, 2021, 02:50 PM

He is Risen! Alleluia!!!
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I use names of my kids, their cousins, friends, my friends, relatives liberally, esp. if it fits the meaning for the character. My kids have "edited" some of my short stories, crossing out a character's name to add their own :grin3 

Pons gives you some great scenarios to think about. Happy writing!
#3 - March 02, 2021, 04:52 PM
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https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

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Are the grandchildren old enough to ask?
#4 - March 02, 2021, 06:12 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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Pons does give some important things to consider.

I used my 3 adult children's name in my Twelve Days of Christmas in Kentucky pb and that turned out fine. I felt a little bad there wasn't another character in the book so I could include my stepson's name as well.  But I solved that problem by self-publishing a pb and using his name in that one.

Before I had any grandchildren, I used my great-niece Katie's name in a magazine story that was published in Clubhouse Jr. She and her mom were both thrilled, so when I was writing another story for that magazine I used Katie's sister's name.  I was delighted when that story was also accepted for publication, since I didn't want to seem to be playing favorites between the sisters.  Imagine my disappointment when I received my author comp copies of the magazine and discovered the editors had changed Rachel's name in the story!  Since I saw no reason for the change, I tactfully wrote the editor and asked about it, explaining that both my nieces were special needs children  and that Rachel had been especially looking forward to seeing her name in the story.  Amazingly, the editor had their design person change the name in the story back to Rachel and then printed out  5 full-color, full-magazine-size copies of the story and sent them to me just so I could give a copy to Rachel.  I still get teary-eyed every time I think about the kindness and caring of that Clubhouse Jr. staff.
#5 - March 02, 2021, 07:01 PM

He is Risen! Alleluia!!!
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Ev, that was so lovely of the editors. I imagine those are keepsake issues for your nieces.
#6 - March 03, 2021, 02:16 PM
Little Thief! Max & Midnight, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

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Pons does give some important things to consider.

I used my 3 adult children's name in my Twelve Days of Christmas in Kentucky pb and that turned out fine. I felt a little bad there wasn't another character in the book so I could include my stepson's name as well.  But I solved that problem by self-publishing a pb and using his name in that one.

Before I had any grandchildren, I used my great-niece Katie's name in a magazine story that was published in Clubhouse Jr. She and her mom were both thrilled, so when I was writing another story for that magazine I used Katie's sister's name.  I was delighted when that story was also accepted for publication, since I didn't want to seem to be playing favorites between the sisters.  Imagine my disappointment when I received my author comp copies of the magazine and discovered the editors had changed Rachel's name in the story!  Since I saw no reason for the change, I tactfully wrote the editor and asked about it, explaining that both my nieces were special needs children  and that Rachel had been especially looking forward to seeing her name in the story.  Amazingly, the editor had their design person change the name in the story back to Rachel and then printed out  5 full-color, full-magazine-size copies of the story and sent them to me just so I could give a copy to Rachel.  I still get teary-eyed every time I think about the kindness and caring of that Clubhouse Jr. staff.

Ev, that is so fantastic!
#7 - March 03, 2021, 06:01 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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I illustrated for a MG author who not only used his son's name for the main character, but also had me draw the character to resemble his son.  Apparently, this author did the same thing with his first book, but for his other son.  It was important to him to have a book starring each of his sons so that neither felt left out.  :)
#8 - March 06, 2021, 09:25 AM

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Thank you all so much for taking the time to answer my question! You gave me alot to think about... 😊
#9 - March 10, 2021, 06:15 PM

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