When you build a community as big as Bellingwood, it is inevitable that newcomers (readers) get lost amidst all of the characters. Heck, even us old-timers (haha) forget who is who and who’s done what.
I have a friend who delivers an Excel file of the characters who arrive in a book, but I also keep a rather extensive list of characters and all that I know about them. I try to take notes as I write, but that doesn’t always work.
To be honest, neither of those databases are complete. There are many details about these characters that slide past me, no matter how many times I re-read what I’ve written. It’s scary.
Y’all keep asking for a character list and I keep not making it happen. There are several reasons.
First of all, there is absolutely NO good way to build this so that it is solid, usable and flexible. I’ve tried a searchable dictionary – type format. That didn’t work at all. I tried a wiki – that was just plain stupid. I tried a plain list, but oh my goodness, that became so bulky and unwieldy I wanted to scream. I’ve tried putting characters into Excel and well … for one book it kinda works, but after that, just hit me in the head. This isn’t an easy task. It’s complete insanity.
Secondly. This one is hard to explain and may sound like I’m avoiding the situation, but it’s also about spoilers. If you’ve read all of the books up to Book 14 (and I know, I know, you’re desperately waiting for September 25th), you know how each of these characters arrived in Polly’s life.
But what if you were just starting the series and discovered a complete character list and read about things that had yet to happen? How much fun was it for you to read the stories and uncover characters that have now become so familiar? The characters come with tears, laughter, joy and sadness. That’s what makes the story so real.
I’d hate to take away that fun for readers who come to this series along the way. New people find this series every day. That’s a real issue for me and a line that I hate to cross. Every once in a while, I let something slip because I’ve lived with these characters for four years now and it crushes me when I realize that I just took away someone’s initial fun.
One of these days, the perfect solution is going to present itself. Don’t think for a minute that I’m not processing on this problem regularly. Don’t think for a minute that I don’t process on a ton of things that you haven’t even imagined when it comes to the Bellingwood series. I understand that it can be frustrating to not remember details about your favorite characters or even why a character exists. You can always ask me questions and I’ll do my best to answer.
In 2013, I did create a quick character list and posted it on Facebook – these people are all pretty safe. Nothing is a spoiler here. If you need more information, let me know … we’ll get this figured out someday. I promise.
Polly Amelia Giller
Parents: Everett & Barbara (Mahoney) Giller – deceased
Relatives in Story City: Clyde & Ivy Giller
Caregivers / Farmhand: Sylvester & Mary Shore
Obiwan – German Shepherd / Labrador (gift from Doug Randall & Billy Endicott)
Luke & Leia – cats (gift from Brad & Lee Giese)
Nan, Nat, Demi, Daisy – Percheron horses (black)
Parents: William & Marie Sturtz (Arizona)
Sister: Lonnie, Graduate work – University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Polly’s Bellingwood Girlfriends:
Aaron & Lydia Merritt (Aaron is County Sheriff)
Marilyn & Brian Erikson (Dayton, IA) – one set of twins, pregnant w/3rd child
Jill & Steve Redman (Kansas City) – one boy, pregnant with 2nd child
Daniel Merritt (Des Moines)
Sandy Merritt (Minneapolis)
James (Jim) Merritt (ISU, Ames)
Beryl Watson – Artist
First husband: Stewart Lanier (divorced)
Second husband: Scott Watson (deceased)
Cat: Miss Kitty
Students: Deena, Meryl
Andy Saner – Retired Teacher
Bill Saner, Junior
Melanie Saner (ISU, Ames)
Sylvie Donovan – Chef at Sycamore House, attending DMACC
Jason – age 12
Andrew – age 9
Polly’s Boston girlfriends:
Drea Renaldi – Professor at Boston College
Two brothers: Ray & Jon
Sycamore House Employees:
Mark Ogden – Veterinarian
Partner – Seth Jackson
Employees – Marnie Evans, Dena Harrison, Leanne Malloy
Doug Randall – Electrical Apprentice for Jerry Adams
Parents: Helen & Frank
Billy Endicott – Electrical Apprentice for Jerry Adams
Parents: Marcus & June