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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Mail Call

I received a couple of interesting emails from readers over the holiday. Each one sparked some thinking I thought I'd share with you.

First I received a note from a reader named Edie Swann curious about how I came up with the name of my heroine in One Deadly Sin, which was, coincidentally (for her) Edie Swann...

My first reaction was, how cool is that? I "invented" a name that a real person already has!
But then I had to answer the "how" and that got me thinking about character names. The christening of "my" Edie began with the kind of woman she was: a little bit rough and rootless--she does ride a Harley, after all--but not so kick ass that she couldn't yearn for the things she didn't have, like family and home.

Linguistically, the "E" in Edie is a soft sound, but the hard consonant "D" toughens that up. And the "ie" at the end is informal and casual, which is how I imagined my biker chick heroine.

So there was some real method behind the madness, at least when it came to her first name. How I came up with Swann, though, I have no idea. Sometimes I just try out names to see if they "fit."

In fact, I'm having trouble with names in my upcoming book. Two Lethal Lies. For spoiler reasons which I won't go into here, my editor had a problem with my hero's last name. I've spent weeks trying out alternatives and still haven't come up with anything that works.

I just finished Lisa Gardner's Hide and discovered in the Author's Notes at the end, that some of the characters bore the names of people Lisa actually knows. She also runs a contest that gives the winner a chance to name a character in her books.

I've never read a book with a character that had my name. Have you? I wonder if it's weird or wonderful. Maybe it depends on the character?

I did ask my reader if "my" Edie was anything like her, but alas, she declined to respond.

More on reader letters in my next post.

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Blogger Edie said...

I actually DID respond but it bounced back. Sorry. Unfortunately, I am not as thrilling as your "Edie Swann". I have two kids, two dogs and one husband. I drive a gas hog SUV and could be described as a "soccer mom". Maybe I'm everything your character yearns for and just maybe I yearn to ride a Harley...naaahhh!

December 1, 2010 at 7:13 PM  
Anonymous Annie Solomon said...

Well, like her or not, it's fun to try on someone else's life. Especially if you can finish the last page, close the book, and return to your own!

December 2, 2010 at 6:48 AM  

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