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So many questions come to mind as I write this Alaska book. And not just questions of my past. My mother wrote in detail. As her baby sister said to me yesterday, “She didn’t write letters. She wrote journals!” Her letters were so thick they couldn’t be slipped under the door.

She had phone numbers, addresses, named people by first and last names and stated their job titles, where they worked, how many children they had and their names, and what they had for breakfast. Not really on the breakfast, but you get the jest don’t you? She didn’t hold back much.


I’m at a loss as to what to do about some of this. Is there any protocol about publishing matter with real names when publishing a memoir as this could almost be called?

The majority of these people are probably long gone. This was in the years of 1959-1964, but they may have family living. I doubt very much if any of them remember our family and I have no idea how to get in touch with these families.

I’ve already deleted phone numbers, but I’m hesitant about adding these names at times, especially if it is not a flattering subject. Nothing too bad. Just some neighbors not wanting to fix a road or some little detail about their political background. There was one scandal and only mentioned once so I don’t even know what became of it.

What would you do if you were reading a book and came across an incident detailing part of your life? Me? I’d probably be flattered I had been included and contact the author to get a signed copy! 😉

I really hate to alter the names because some of them are so delightful and entertaining as such. They suit that era and the environment.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this subject or some first-hand knowledge? Please comment if you do. I’d appreciate it.




About Elle Knowles

Elle Knowles lives in the Florida Panhandle with her husband and off-at-college-most-of-the-time son. She has four daughters, one son, and eleven beautiful grandchildren. 'Crossing the Line' is her first novel. The sequel 'What Line' is a work in progress. Recently published is Coffee-Drunk Or Blind - a nonfiction story of homesteading in the Alaska wilderness with her parents and four siblings, told through letters by her mother and remembered accounts from the family.

12 responses »

  1. Having never wrote a book with real people involved I’m at a loss. I think I would error on the side of caution though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe you can just put initials… The family will know who you are talking about.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If my name was in your book would make me very happy, it is always nice to remember part of your life, doubt arises me when this piece is not especially pretty.

    If the fact that it is critical and relates not have permission perhaps the best and most practical is to rename.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. In the memoir I am writing, I am changing names since I can’t get permission

    Liked by 1 person


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