by Sue Ann Jaffarian
Between the time I first wrote Curse and it's re-release, I'd had a serious and ongoing confrontation with a woman who had the same first name as the person Odelia kills in the original edition. And a lot of people knew about this conflict. While editing Curse, I got to thinking about it. A lot of folks identify me with Odelia Grey. After all, she's a short, fat, middle-aged paralegal with an often snarky mouth. The more I thought about it, the more concerned I was that people would think I was using the book to live out a fantasy of killing off the person with whom I was having difficulties. Most people who knew us both would not remember that Curse was actually written a few years before the problem occurred.
What to do?
Although I honestly wanted to slap this person at the time, and several times, I didn't wish her dead. I wished her well. I wished her success. I wished her a new brain and a heart. Just far away from me. But death - never! So I did the one thing in my power as an author to do. With a simple replace all I changed the name of the character before it went to print and into wider release.
Readers like to inject a lot of stuff into the books they read. Some of it is the author's intention, some of it not. I wasn't about to take the chance that people might think that I wanted this woman six feet under. I'm really not that petty, no matter what ill-feelings I bear towards someone.
On the flip side, I give away a lot of character names in my books as raffle prizes for charities. And a lot of the people who purchase these names I do know personally, and a lot of them want to be a murder victim or the bad guy who is served justice in the end. So when you're reading one of my books, don't think the dead guy or bad guy annoyed me, rather think of them as someone I've probably shared quality time with over a meal or a cup of coffee. Because that's closer to the truth.