When you discover your character’s name has been used before — and is kinda sorta famous.

Both booksOne of the supporting characters in Haunting Danielle is a police officer named Joe Morelli. This morning one of my friends finished Haunting Danielle and asked me, “Did you know that Joe Morelli is Janet Evanovich’s male MC in the Stephani Plum series?”

Hmmm no…I haven’t read that series. I really had no idea. I borrowed the surname from a friend of ours, and Joe from our son-in-law.

My Joe Morelli is no relation to the character created by the talented Ms. Evanovich. I wonder how often this happens—I imagine frequently.  I recall not long ago one of my friends released her first book, a YA that was well received. Yet one reviewer blasted her for naming her character similar to a YA character in another series, accusing my friend of stealing the name. Fact was, my friend had a sentimental reason for selecting her character’s name, and it had nothing to do with the other YA book.

I toyed with the idea of changing the name—yet those who have already read the book, and have it on their eBook reader and intend to read Book 2 when it comes out November 1, 2014, might get confused. My Morelli character plays a central role in the next book, so I’m torn. Chances are, this sort of thing will probably happen again.

What would you do?

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