Apr 082024

Sometimes you live with something because it works, even if it’s not always convenient. I do that with the characters in my books. For each series, I have a list of the main and recurring characters, their physical traits, and a small bit of their history that I can refer to as I’m writing. That has worked fine for the Big Lake and John Lee Quarrels series.

However, I have found that with the Tinder Street family saga, there are so many characters from so many generations that it has become cumbersome to keep track of them. Each book in the series covers a five-year time span, and sometimes the children don’t play a major role until they are older. Then I have to look back and say, who is Roger? Oh yes, he’s Margaret’s son. When was he born? That’s right, he’s married to JoAnn. How many children do they have and how old are they?

But as I was in the shower Friday night, I had a thought. Don’t ask me why, but I get many book ideas while I am in the shower. I’m sure Sigmund Freud would have something to say about that. Anyway, because I’m about to begin the next book in the Tinder Street series, I was going over the characters in my head and getting confused by who was old enough for military service and such. Then it hit me I have a tool that would make life very easy. All I had to do was go into ancestry.com and create a family tree. So that’s what I did yesterday.

I actually named it the Tinder Street family tree, because the series tells the stories of two intertwined families starting from just before World War I, and will eventually end with the Vietnam War.

So that’s what I did much of yesterday. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds because I had to go back through each book and see when a character first appears and add a birth date for them, as well as the death date for ones who have died as the series has progressed through the first five books. I have to admit that as I was looking through the different books in the series and reliving some of the events in the character’s lives, I became even more excited than usual to get started on The War Years, the next book in the series.

Congratulations Marshall L McLaurin, winner of our drawing for an autographed copy of my book Overlooked Florida, featuring over 30 interesting places from the Panhandle to Key West. Florida is filled with wonderful attractions that most visitors never get to see. Frontier forts, wildlife refuges, historical museums, Cracker homesteads, and quaint fishing towns are all waiting for you away from the glitter and glitz of Orlando and Disney World.

We had 82 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 90 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – I won $10,000 on a scratch off lottery ticket and donated a quarter of it to charity. I now have $9,999.75.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  5 Responses to “Why Didn’t I Think Of That Sooner?”

  1. I know what you mean about trying to remember who is who in Tinder Street. I read the first five books all at once but now that the sixth book is coming out I don’t remember much about them at all. I’m thinking I may need to start over and read the first five again before I read six. Or I may just wait until you finish the whole series and then read them all at once. A small summary of the first five books to bring me up to date would be great before I start reading number six. That would probably be more work than you would want to do.

  2. That idea might perfectly, as long as the Census Bureau doesn’t come looking for the bodies. LOL!
    Be Safe and Enjoy your characters.

    It’s about time.

  3. Perhaps that very family tree could be a part of this next book? Hmmm? Pretty please???

  4. As the series progresses, I find myself having to jump to the “characters” (or whatever it’s called) pages to remember who is a child of which characters. I was doing pretty well until book five, but we are now enough generations in that it is harder to remember. I like Liz’s idea of the family tree or Joyce’s idea of a short summary of the key points from each book or from the time of book one to date of beginning of current book. Of course, I will make work whatever you decide because I love the series.

  5. Another vote here for a summary of the family trees in the Tinder Street series! I have a permanent list of the families, but a “tree” would be helpful! BTW, I LOVE the series! Soooo looking forward to “The War Years”. Thank you, Nick! ………. Norma

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