Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Oliver: The Character I Couldn't Let Go

Dorothy L. Sayer said that she was so in love with her Lord Peter Wimsey that she didn't have time for other relationships. I think authors often fall in love with our characters and I think that is a good thing. If we don't love them how can our readers? Last fall I wrote a novella called The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelt's Wood with the intention of telling a story about an old childhood tradition I grew up with. In the process I created Oliver Eberstark, a quiet, good-hearted man who was raised in the woods by his grandfather. The story was well-received and has garnered wonderful reviews but, after I published it, I missed Oliver. I missed him a lot -- so I decided to write more about him.

The result is a collection of stories that I am still working on but which I call The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall: Marienstadt Stories. Each of the stories features the same cast of characters and cycles through a year and a half in the lives of the people of my fictional Pennsylvania Dutch town Marienstadt. Included in the stories are Oliver, Father Nick, and Gretchen who owns the quilting shop in Marienstadt. Other characters include the devastatingly handsome Chief of Police, Henry Winter; Candy Dippold, the grocer with a guillotine; Lola Eckert, a beautiful but bashful strudel artist; Peeper Baumgratz, who is ready for the Zombie Apocalypse; Sister Ursula, the nun who runs a snowplow; Mulligan Wolfe, the pig farmer who can dance, and many more.

I am having such a good time writing these stories! Some are sad, some are romantic, some are very funny (my buddy Ray, who ha been reading them as I work on them, said the one about the kids who build a tank out of an old washing machine makes him laugh every time he reads it.) So I hope you will keep an eye out for it.

This blog post is part of the April 2012 A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. Thanks for visiting.


  1. How wonderful. I can see how one would fall in love with a character you created. It's like designing the ideal mate. Thanks for your visit and comment on my blog, Kathleen.

  2. I completely understand this. I wrote in a character as a foil that didn't quite work. I considered deleting him but I found I couldn't. I'd grown to love him too much. So much so that instead of an epilogue I'm giving him his own story.

  3. Sounds like a lot of fun. I have not tried writing fiction, but I often fall in love with others' characters.

  4. Sounds like you're having much too much fun!


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