Maybe it’s because my name is unusual, although there are a few Lois’s about, and a few Elsdens, I think I may be the unique Lois Elsden. I remember as a child reading the list of first names in the back of the dictionary we had at home, or reading through all the ‘begets’ in the Bible, marvelling at and relishing the names. I dreamt of giving my children unusual names… Zebretta I fancied, or Talisker… in the end my children have nice and fairly uncommon but not unknown names, one Irish, one French.
So the characters in my books… poor things, they don’t ask to have unusual names; just as the rest of us are given names at birth, so they are. I don’t always choose names sometimes they just arrive with the character, sometimes I ponder over names or change them for various reasons. In “Night Vision”, one of the characters started as Robbie, changed to Roddie, and may change again to Paddy. Sometimes characters have nick names, or family pet names… but this is not always conscious thought on my part. I see a scene, as in the book I am writing at present about the Portbradden family, and Nick, christened Nicholas, is called Nicky by his family. Nick has a twin brother, Tyrone, who is often called Ty by the family; the twins however call each other Ko and Ro, and no-one else calls them that. Nick and Tyrone have a cousin, Antoine, and he is only ever called Antoine, his name is never shortened except by people who don’t know him very well. Alison is called Ally by everyone except her husband who calls her by her full name.
My best friend Frankie remarked on the heroine of ‘Farholm’ being called Deke, and her sister, Blaine. I can’t really explain it… their names may be unusual but the other characters are Michael, Sean, Nathaniel, Alice, Tamsin, Vicky… not too way out.
So the names in ‘Rosa’… Czekov is obviously an eastern European name but I have so many friends and relations with Polish or Lithuanian connections from families who came to Britain after the war.
Other names… Luka, Brian, Estelle, John, Johnny, Melanie, Maisie, Tic, Sapphire/Sophia, Garth, Spike, Vic, Angel, Rick, Darryl, and the large Chambers clan who all have Biblical names.
As a conclusion, here are some real names I have come across; I actually knew people called:
- Queen Elizabeth,
- Laura Denim
- Paris Romeo
- Romulus Rex