A little while ago, I had a Twitter chat with a few authors about book characters who share our names. (My conversation was with Keris Stainton, Susie Day and Tamsyn Murray – all here on Girls Heart Books! *waves*) It started when Keris spotted a character called Cerys in one of Tamsyn’s novels, My So-Called Phantom Lovelife. Of course, Cerys was unrelated to Keris, but it got me thinking.
A name like mine doesn’t crop up in many books, which is maybe why I really notice when it does. I read a novel called Dancing in the Dark by Peter Prendergast – a brilliant and moving book about grief and standing up for yourself. Unfortunately, the meanest character in the story was called… Louisa.
From the moment Louisa swanned onto the page and was described as ‘obnoxious’, I knew she was a person unworthy of sharing my name. I squirmed when she got up to her mean tricks. I thought: That’s not L(o)uisa-ish! I’d never do that! She was a great dancer (which I’m not, unless you count waving at the Wii) but that didn’t really make up for her horrible behaviour. I started wondering about the nastier characters I’ve written myself. When I met a lovely girl called Chelsea, I apologised to her about the Chelsea in Split by a Kiss, which she’d read. She assured me she didn’t mind – phew!
Also, imagine if your name AND surname appeared in a book? There’s probably a Josie Reilly or a Rachel Glassman (from Split/Swapped by a Kiss) out there somewhere. There’s maybe even a real-life Lex Murphy (from Kiss Date Love Hate), and bearing in mind that I deliberately named her after the girl in Jurassic Park, that’s two namesakes for the price of one. I wonder…
Have you ever read about a character who shared your name? What did you think of your fictional namesake? Do you find characters with your name tend to be a certain sort of person? And if you haven’t shared your name with a book character, would you like to? What would this character be like? There may be authors listening… 🙂
(Taking control… cartoon from XKCD)
“A rose by any other name would, ahem, taste as sweet?”
Single red rose cupcake image (top, left) – Some rights reserved by Angelina Cupcake