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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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