For secondary characters and institutions in my novels, I frequently use the names of friends and family. To wit:
Jim Mitzelfeld worked with me at The Detroit News, and won a Pulitzer Prize doing so. We also skated together in The News’s nasty annual hockey games versus the Detroit Free Press. Jim left journalism after attaining its highest honor, got his law degree, and went to work chasing down scammers for the U.S. Justice Department.
In my forthcoming novel, PURGATORY BAY, I’ve borrowed Mitz’s name for a man in a photo on the desk of a Detroit Times investigative reporter named Robillard. Robo, as people call him, figures prominently in Jubilee Rathman’s vendetta against those she holds responsible for ruining her life. And Jamison Mitzelfeld plays a small but significant role as well. Take a bow, Mitz!