what a bunch of characters

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.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to what a bunch of characters

  1. Melanie says:

    Hoorah! Glad to be one of the several Melanies who entered. Are you going on tour? And will you post dates?!

    • nickearls says:

      There will certainly be a tour, and I’ll be posting dates soon. It’ll kick off in Brisbane on 28 July, then go to all mainland Aust states in August, with Tassie to follow a bit later (no jokes about that timing please …)

  2. Bianca says:

    Ooh very exciting! I’m keen to see what you do with my name 😉 I feel quite honoured! ❤

    • nickearls says:

      As far as I can recall, Bianca is a character whose appearance might be described as a cameo, but she gets some nice lines in while she’s there. I think she ends up having to manage a particularly challenging request from a client …

  3. I, for one, will be at the Aid Reader event on the 28th of July to snap up a copy. Thanks for picking my name out of the hat. I might start putting my surname in brackets on offical documents. Just for consistency.

    Brett (Spencer)

    • nickearls says:

      That might also work if you were a lord or a prince.

      I’m already telling myself not to look out for someone who looks exactly like Brett in the book, and it’s already not working.

    • And of course I meant ‘Avid Reader’ not ‘Aid Reader’… Two spelling mistakes in under 50 words (or do I mean ‘fewer than 50 words).

      Keep an eye out for the genius wandering along Boundary St tonight asking people “Do you know where’s the Aid Reader is?”

      • nickearls says:

        We could probably just sell you a proof copy and you’d never know the difference.

  4. Utterly facinating. Call went out before my time but can’t wait to read the finished product. My middle name is Selina so pseduo feeling of involvment should get me through it. Best, Dimity (might want to consider that for next best seller…we’re pretty thin on the ground and page).

    • nickearls says:

      You’re right. I’m aware of a couple of Dimitys in life but none in fiction (which may reflect my patchy reading as much as anything, but people are welcome to point out any famous fictional Dimitys).If that’s the case, it’s surely time to change it.

  5. There is an Aunty Dimity kids’ character by Nancy Atherton. She’s featured in a mystery series. There’s a touch of the Trixie Beldons about it. I’m not american, am an aunty and get a bit confused by mysteries. Therefore still plenty of room for change.

    • Nick Earls says:

      I once had a publicist called Imogen. A few years before she’d told an author she’d never read a character called Imogen. In his next book I think Imogen was a bitter 80-year-old chain smoker. I managed to balance things out a bit by making her an under-age drinker who threw up in the central character’s hair in 48 Shades of Brown.

  6. As a fellow pesto connoisseur and lover of birds and individual who views chuppa chubs with some suspicion, and in light of the fact that Imogen is a relatively ‘nice’ sounding name, I think you did a splendid job of ‘grubbying it’ up and including it. I threw up on my teddy once (maybe shouldn’t have revealed that). Point is I don’t mind if you ever want to ‘grubby up’ Dimity. This isn’t sounding the way it ought to! Really am, Dim but Nice 🙂

  7. PS In order to relieve any pressure about future use of Dimity, realised it is already a bit overdone with; Bob Graham’s Dimity Dumpty and Dimity Duck (another picture book). Sorry if last reply came off a bit wierd. I’m mean you’d act wierd too…a duck and an egg for goodness sakes. Plus I’ve just had a lateish life revelation; The humble little Chuppa Chup was invented by a Spaniard in 1958 as a way to prevent kiddies getting their fingers sticky whilst eating lollies and the wrapper daisy design was conjured up by Salvador Dali in 1969 and still in use today. Suspicions alleviated. I love school holidays.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s