Thursday, 17 May 2012

What's in a Name?

One of the characters in the earlier version of The Housemaid's Daughter was named Siobahn. She is the daughter of Cathleen, the matriarch of Cradock House. Despite Cathleen's efforts, Siobahn turns into a particularly selfish young girl - and therefore a rather satisfying character to write. Worthy characters may be wonderful and inspiring, but there's nothing like a dose of nastiness to spice up matters!

Siobahn didn't have an easy time in the book: her family would abbreviate her name, resulting in the rather in-elegant 'Siob', or Miss Siob to Ada. To add insult to injury, she then had to cope with readers being unsure how to pronounce either her full name or the abbreviation.

Clearly, something had to give.
So... when the book was being readied for its new publication as The Housemaid's Daughter, I decided that Siobahn needed - not a makeover, or a change of her hard heart - but a change of name.
Farewell, Siob! Welcome Rosemary! (or Miss Rose where required)

I rather like the idea of someone mean being graced with a beautiful name. Will it have any beneficial effect? Will it encourage her to be a kinder, gentler soul? I guess you'll just have to read the book when it comes out in August...

A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet? (Apologies to Shakespeare)

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