A long, long time ago, when my next novel was but an embryo, I put a call out on Twitter and Facebook for people to pitch in their names for my characters, sight unseen. I thought I might get 20 people, and I’d pick one name.
I ended up with about 500 contenders, and decided to go way further. I gave their names to almost every character in the novel.
Several drafts and sets of page proofs later, the novel – The Fix – is a month away from publication. That made this seem like a perfect time to remind a few people about what’s coming up, before friends start saying, for example, ‘Hey, Ben, did you know there’s a character with your name in this book?’
So, brace yourselves: Joshua Lang, Ben Harkin, Brett (Spencer*), Selina (Nutley), Rob Mueller, Miriam (Keane), Emily (Castledine), Francesca (Lott), Aphrodite (Kapelaris), Vincent Duffy, Kim (family name not given or needed), Bianca (Martin), Hayley (Roberts), Ross Sammut, Eugenia (Dziedzic), Courtney Smith, Aimee Duroux and pinknantucket.
* family names bracketed where they aren’t mentioned in the novel, or where they had to change (eg, because Brett is Joshua’s big brother).
There’s also a Melanie. Several Melanies entered, and I figured they were all welcome. A Christine came in later, after Christine Davie who suggested the comp in the first place and Christine Atkinson who reminded me that she’d saved my life all those times. I may not have a strong memory of any of them, but she makes outstanding cakes from improbable ingredients and, if that doesn’t give your name a fleeting appearance in a novel, what does?
So, what do you have to brace yourselves for? One of you is the conflicted (but, I hope, engaging) central character and one his stylish frenemy. At least one of you has committed or will commit a crime. One of you dumped the central character in London, one died a dramatic death before the novel began, two of you are journalists, one works in PR, one’s a former model and one is a XXXL mambo-shirt-wearing, flat-nosed boss of a strip club.
To all of you, thanks for playing the game. I hope you’ll be happy with how it turned out. It looks like I’ll be criss-crossing the country in the coming months with the book, so I hope I’ll get to meet the real-life versions of at least some of you along the way.