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So what about asterisks? Stories like these, based on real people in real populations tend to gather a number of characters making the cast look more like something from Dickens or Tolstoy than Elmore Leonard. These people had large families providing large numbers with the same last name and they used precious few first names resulting in many folks with identical names. Early in my research I used the asterisk to note important characters, usually a member of the family line of the story. When I began the books I knew many readers would be interested in the genealogy of the era so I persisted with the asterisk. As the audience broadened, many readers weren’t particularly interested in this and it is to them I give my apologies for the asterisk. Just realize it does help keep the main-character, Pierre*, apart from the twenty other Pierres encountered along the way.
Confused? Coming next: Cliff Notes for the Allard Series.  Read More 
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