Here’s a few quick notes about the characters and story development in The Safe List.

The Stats

The Safe List was started in the summer of 2014 and it took four and a half years to complete. The original edition was published on October 31, 2017 and I delisted it within a few weeks because I wanted to improve the story. The revised edition was published on November 29, 2018. Including titles and front matter, the book is 128,558 words long.


In the beginning of the book, I mentioned the pronunciation of my lead character’s name in order to avoid confusion or debate among readers. My informal research at the start of this project indicated that “KAH-lin” was the most common way to say the name, so I chose it and grew to love it as I wrote, just as I grew to love all the qualities that made Kalynn the dynamic and intelligent woman that she was.

Following my first draft, I had a spirited discussion with one beta reader who insisted that it should be pronounced “KAY-lin”. I decided that it would be necessary to set the record straight.

The Good Guys

All of the “good” characters are either made-up or composites of several people. Kalynn has characteristics and mannerisms of several female pop stars, although I had three specific singers in mind.

As a tribute to my favorite female pop star, I added one character, an “Easter Egg” of sorts, who is mentioned several times in the book but never puts in an appearance. If you take her initials and reverse them, you will have the initials of her real-life counterpart.

The Bad Guys

Most of the bad guys in the book were inspired by real-life individuals, although not always the ones you might think.

David Mauntell was a composite of two people. Troy Acelin was inspired by two entertainers, one who was a pop star and one who was not. Bill Axton could have been any one of several people.

The obsessed fan “Alex Scheer” was inspired by a real-life stalker fan, an anti-social recluse who developed an unhealthy preoccupation with a beautiful female pop star.  Like the fictional “Scheer”, he expressed a desire to become the most important person in her life by being the one to end it. He ultimately killed himself after mailing a package bomb to the object of his obsession. The bomb was intercepted at a postal facility and safely destroyed. I’m not mentioning any names or places here because the pop star in question has without a doubt been traumatized enough.

Next: The Spark