Sunday, June 07, 2009

A Slightly By Any Other Name

I have a dilemma. A character I have been calling "Slightly Foxed" for about a year, in my mind and on the page, has to have a name change. The magazine Slightly Foxed has been approached and is uncomfortable with "The Slightly Foxed Mysteries" as the overall title for my series and "Slightly Foxed and the Case of ..." as the title for the individual books. Now, I do accept this - I mean, they did get there first, by a lot of years - but it's REALLY, REALLY HARD changing someone's name. The idea of the books STARTED with the words "Slightly Foxed" - what a great name for a character, I thought, probably Victorian, a girl this time, feisty of course, and - hey, why not? - a detective! (I did write about a detective once before, years ago, called Cynthia, but she was a kangaroo ...*) Still, needs must ...

I googled lists of Victorian names, but nothing seemed even remotely right. I tried to remember what Jane Austen called her characters, and Dickens. I looked at my London A-Z for inspiration. I woke up in the middle of the night trying out different possibilities, all disastrous - except one. One seemed brilliant. I must remember this in the morning, I thought to myself, and repeated it over and over to be sure. And I did remember. It was the word "Bread." Terrific. (There are people who think exciting and useful things in their sleep, but I am not one of them.)

There is some hope, though. Apparently the Victorians did sometimes use surnames as Christian names, so I'm hoping to hold on to "Slightly." And I'm starting to lean towards "Frobisher" as a surname. And perhaps I could sandwich in "Bread" (tee-hee) and call her "Slightly Bread Frobisher" ...

Any suggestions? Let me know!

Cheers, Joan.

(* There's a Kangaroo in My Soup! Cricket/Front Street Books)


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