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Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Fun Facts: Just call me John (with guest Lisa Ireland)

As I indicated last week, I am asking my Friday guest posters to share a tidbit of research  that they discovered in the course of writing their book - that may or may not have made it into the final product. It just seems a shame to waste it!

So here is my inaugural guest, my fellow "Escape Artist", Lisa Ireland. 

Although born and bred in the city of Melbourne, Australia, Lisa has always been a country girl at heart. After graduating from university, her love of horses, cattle dogs and tumbling-down farmhouses led her to accept a teaching position at a small school in rural Victoria. A flood, a bushfire, and countless snakes taught her there was more to life on the land than fluffy sheep and home baked scones! Lisa hopes her stories reflect the deep admiration she has for rural communities. She will never forget the hospitality she was shown as a wide-eyed city slicker, new to life in the bush.
Lisa now lives in a small coastal town and spends her days dreaming up stories as she walks along the beach. (Don’t tell her husband — he thinks she’s there to watch him catching waves.) When not writing, reading or conducting conversations with characters in her head, Lisa is busy being mum to her three boys and trying her best to train her impossible but adorable Labrador.
Over to Lisa...
ON RESEARCHING NAMES

When Alison asked me to write a post on a fun research

fact I was stumped. I write contemporary fiction. Whilst I do research, much of it isn’t very exciting. For example in my first book, Breaking The Drought, I spent an awful lot of time researching soil types and tree species in various parts of Victoria. Not that you’d know that if you read the book, because it was all for the sake of one tree in one paddock!

I was about to email Alison and tell her I couldn’t do it, when I realised there is one topic I research over and over again: character names.

As a reader, character names are very important to me. If a name seems incongruous for some reason I’m pulled out of the story. It’s important that the name is appropriate to the age, culture, nationality and social circumstances of the character. If not I need a plausible reason for this.

When it comes to naming my characters I spend a lot of time choosing and I’m not just talking about my main characters here. Every person appearing in my books will have had their name thoroughly researched! I spend hours trawling through popular baby names of various time periods before I make my choice.

Just in case you were wondering, here are some popular choices for Australian born babies over the past century.

Year               Boy                             Girl
2014              Oliver                          Charlotte
2010              Jack                             Ruby
2000              Joshua                          Emily
1990              Matthew                     Jessica
1980              Michael                       Rebecca
1970              David                          Michelle
1960              Peter                           Jennifer
1950              John                            Margaret
1940              John                            Margaret
1930              John                            Margaret (yes, seriously!)
1920              John*                          Betty

*We’re an imaginative lot Down Under, aren’t we?

This list has ben compiled using the records from Births, Deaths and Marriages in Victoria. 1920s records are from Births, Deaths and Marriages, NSW.


When a smooth-talking, sophisticated city girl comes striding into town on her stiletto heels, he's the last person who wants to notice...
When Jenna McLean gets roped into attending a matchmaking ball in a small country town, she holds no illusions of meeting the man of her dreams.  A no-nonsense magazine editor, Jenna doesn’t believe in leaving love to chance, which is why she’s developed Marriage Material – a fool-proof framework for husband hunting. Shearers and farmhands need not apply.
Sheep grazier Luke Tanner has met women like Jenna before, and knows not to waste his time. With the drought dragging on and bushfire season around the corner, the last thing he needs is a spoiled city girl like Jenna adding to his problems. He'll help out with the ball because it's good for the community, but he won't dance, he won't flirt, and he definitely won't be matched.
It's been a long dry season, but everyone knows when it rains, it pours.  
Buy BREAKING THE DROUGHT 


6 comments:

  1. Love the post gals...

    I too spend an awful lot of time researching names, their meanings and origins etc... OR sometimes, using names I'd loved to have called my little people and didn't!!

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  2. Thanks to Lisa for being an awesome first guest. Naming characters is so important - I have had characters who absolutely refused to accept their names (OK... other writers will understand what THAT means).

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  3. I know what you mean, Alison. Even with all the research I sometimes find myself changing character names part way through the manuscript!

    Amanda, being the mum of three boys I particularly love choosing my female characters' names.

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  4. I LOVE LOVE LOVE choosing names. I also know what you mean about sometimes the character just won't "accept" their name! My Hero started life as Dan and he hated it! He became Joel and it suits him so much better! I also love alliteration in names. The heroine in my debut novel is Kate Kennedy. When I first started writing, she had a brother called James. My husband politely reminded me that his sister (my gorgeous sister in law) is called Cate and they have a brother (my brother in law) called James! So James became Nathan and I had Kate call him Nate for short - which just sounded ridiculous - Nate and Kate!!! I also find myself using names of people I don't like that much as names of characters I don't like and I have to be very careful about that!
    For the next book I think I'm going to use up all the extra baby names I had chosen for our kids and never got to use - especially girls names!
    Thanks Alison and Lisa for this post
    Love
    Nicki

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  5. HI Nicki,
    Thanks for dropping by. I am a shocker at changing names part way through a book and creating more problems for myself because the new name doesn't quite fit with existing names.

    Having been a school teacher doesn't help either. Certain names remind me of certain kids and that's not great, particularly when you are writing romance!

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  6. LOL, my school teacher mother told me never to name a child Timothy, because that was the name of her biggest problem child!

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