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What's in a name?


​What's in a name? In fiction it's everything. I'm not going to give away too much by saying why each character in the novel had their name chosen. Some like Mack's brother, Adam, are self-explanatory, he was the first born but choosing Cain would have been just so inappropriate. The MacKinnon surname may look obvious at first glance, especially with the novel title. In fact the choice of the surname was at a deeper level and is revealed late on in the story. So no spoiler here. Nothing is as obvious as it first appears. Then again life and identify are like that. John Smith may be a genuine name but it would hardly inspire any real credibility as the name of a hero. That's of course we assuming Mack is a hero.

Why do James and Fiona get called Mack and Effy in the novel was a question I have been asked repeatedly by those who read the original drafts? My novels are about identity. The single greatest identifier of any person is the name they are saddled with at birth. You only have to look at any movie or music legend to realize why so many change their names. Norma Jeanne Mortenson is not quite as glamorous or as catchy as Marilyn Monroe. Nor is Marion Robert Morrison as good as John Wayne.

Even though Mack doesn't realize it at first accepting it as everyday usage the nickname says more about it him than Jim or Jimmy ever could. Effy is a just a very feminine name that perhaps tells you more about her from her all her sisters' perspectives. The fact that both sets of parents don't like their nicknames is understandable. The implications are what they are. I won't spell it out. Each have their own separate identity in the world. Neither chose their nicknames but they say more about them than their real names might.

Halloran? Why Halloran? Check out where the name originates and what its meaning is if you really want to know. Again not an accidental choice.

Was the choice of Ellen as a name for Effy's sister and also Mack's aunt deliberate? Yes. there is a punchline late on in the novel. I won't spoil it.

What about the bad guys?

Okay. Mal Osborn aka Malcolm Osborn is a deliberate choice of name for a bad guy. Osborn means... well look up the meaning. As for Mal? That's French for 'bad' so does more need to be said? Put the name and surname together and it pretty much accurately describes this bad guy.

Does Tom Catford stretch the acceptable limits of naming as plausible? Of course it does. (Catford is a place name). I used to work with someone whose husband was called Walter Raleigh. Apparently this caused long arguments between son and father long into the son's adulthood. Aside from that there was the connotation with TC. (Cartoon character? Smart, funny, a smooth operator).

Naming children in alphabetical order? Sorry, not as daft or original as you might think. I have come across it several times. As for why each daughter was so called by Sean and Rósín, that's for another time. The origin is alway in the name's origins as it is with most parents reasons for choosing.

Well, hopefully that gives you a little more insight into the workings of this author's mind. Remember, with me nothing is obvious and always premeditated.


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