Ewww, just ewww: or the cautionary tale of the perils of naming characters in a whole lot of books at once and then starting one without reference to the real world

Cover showing woman archer on village green

The heroine also known as Anne

Let me start by saying I didn’t do it on purpose.

It’s like this. In the past two years, I’ve created more than 50 plots, detailing more than 30 of them. For most of the plots, the hero and heroine, and a few of the key secondary characters, have names, personal histories, and characters. I’ve also researched my period extensively. And since I’m a tad obsessive, that means a database, charts, sketches, photos, tables, and spreadsheets. Lots of spreadsheets.

When it comes to forenames, I’ve got two tables showing the most popular names in late Georgian England (one for male and one for female names), a spreadsheet of allocated names and titles, a list of possible other character names… okay, maybe more than a tad.

Now I come from a large family, and my own children have made an extensive contribution to the numbers. And we tend to pick traditional names for our babies. Perhaps you can see where this is going.

I eventually twigged that my research and planning was another way to practice avoidance. So I picked the first story in time – the one that happened in 1807, and began to write.

It didn’t even occur to me that the heroine having the same name as one of my granddaughters might be an issue. They were two different people who just happened to have the same name.

The thing is, this is my first book. I hope to be published in April, and – all going well – people will actually read it.

And my granddaughter, who I adore, whose umbilicus I cut 14 years ago, who I helped raise through her early childhood; my granddaughter had the same name as the heroine.

And on Monday I finally reached the hot scene.

Up till now, they’ve been attracted, there have been a couple of close calls and some fairly steamy kisses. But now I had them stranded for the night, alone, in a cottage far from everyone they knew.

And as the hero and heroine began to explore the possibilities that this opened, I began to experience dissonance. Each time the hero said her name in a voice growing huskier and huskier with passion, my dissonance grew.

I know, right?

It was creepy. and I don’t mean Halloween creepy. I mean scruffy man on the corner in nothing but a raincoat creepy.

Ewww. Just. Ewww.

So, thanks to search and replace, my heroine is now called Anne. She always has been called Anne. She always will be called Anne. And when Rede whispers endearments to her in the intimacy of the quiet cottage, he whispers a name that doesn’t belong to any of my granddaughters.

I don’t promise that I will never have a heroine up to steamy stuff who happens to have the same name as one of my nearest and dearest. But it won’t be my first book. And the person won’t be a teenager.

Okay, Debs?

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4 thoughts on “Ewww, just ewww: or the cautionary tale of the perils of naming characters in a whole lot of books at once and then starting one without reference to the real world

  1. Pingback: Some like it hot |

  2. I got a good chuckle reading this! I can imagine how ‘EEEEEEW’ it must have been. Quite disturbing, I’d imagine. And thanks for sharing. I now know that when I come up with names – I should think twice before using the name of someone I know.

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