People often ask writers how they name their characters. For me it’s an odd process (and I’m sure many writers have equally odd ways of going about it). Usually, I have a sense of the sound of the name. Like, I’ll know it must start with a “D” or that it needs to be one syllable. That it needs to be French or melodic, that it needs to “sound like water.” Something like that.
But with Peter Stoller, even my usual process was a bit thwarted. I had originally conceived in calling him Stephen, I think, or something like that. But I really wanted to use the title “St. Peter in Chains,” which I’ve loved since I first visited that church in Rome. And so I felt my protagonist must be named Peter because it would be weird (to me, if not to readers) to have a name in a title that wasn’t the name of someone in the book.
And when I offered him the name Peter, he accepted it without hesitation. It suited him.
The last name seemed to come in a flash. But when I think back about it, I realize the name “Stoller” is one I’ve been aware of since I was a teen. I used to watch a television show—and I can’t remember the name of this show, but I think it was on Comedy Central—that was nothing but clips from stand-up comedy routines. And one of the comedians was named (assuming I’m remembering correctly) Fred Stoller. And that name just always stuck with me. And when I showed it to Peter, he nodded and said yes, that was him.
Today I’ve been working on a bit of what will become the third book in the trilogy, St. Peter Ascends, which I hope to be able to release some time next year. Be sure to read the first two—St. Peter in Chains and St. Peter at the Gate—so you’ll be all caught up and ready for the last book! Both are available as Kindle e-books on Amazon. Links to those and all my other books and stories are here.