What’s in a name?

by | Apr 12, 2022 | Newsletter

As the title of a book is important, so are the names of characters, particularly the protagonist. Hennessey Reed started life as Indigo Vane, though it’s interesting how the subconscious works; when I Googled Indigo Vane it turns out there is a band with that name so I changed to Hennessey, a name I’ve always liked, which I came across who knows where.

Rafael Cooper was originally Sam Cooper, but I ended up thinking his John Hancock should be more unique, just as he is.

Old movies are a great resource if looking for a name that’s different, or period appropriate. We have watched a lot of films released between the ’30s and ’50s recently, and came across an actor called John Bromfield. Good-looking chap he was too. I like to search the cast of something I’m watching to see who’s who. On John Bromfield’s Wikipedia page he is described as an American actor and commercial fisherman. Commercial fisherman in the same breath as actor? Fascinating. Apparently he was born Farron Bromfield. Why you’d change your name from Farron to John I’m not sure, but I immediately thought, ‘Great name. I’ll use that’!

Searching to see if the name I’ve chose for my next protagonist has been used before I became sidetracked scrolling through sites of previous searches I made during research for my Hennessey novella.
These include:

  • History of general anesthesia
  • The real story of Calamity Jane
  • Crazy as a loon – phrase meaning and origin
  • The history of caskets (and no, technically the terms casket and coffin are not interchangeable)
  • Dinner versus supper: Is there a difference? (Yes)
  • Why did Edgar Degas paint ballerinas?
  • The history of concealed carry in the United States
  • Vomiting while sleeping: Causes and prevention
  • 160 synonyms & antonyms of RUMMAGE
  • How to make a garden gate in a ledge and brace style

In Dying Grass Moon I mention that oxen can’t balance on three legs. I took this photo of a sling used to support a beast while it was being shod at Cove Fort, Utah.

Did you know . . .

  • M&M’s (the peanut ones are my absolute faves) got their name from Mars and Murrie, the founders of the brand. During WWII, the US Military were looking for a treat for men in the trenches. Chocolate was rarely an option because it melted, etc, but then the powers that be heard of the chocolate that “melts in your mouth . . .” You know the spiel. The US Military became the sole purchaser of M&Ms until the end of the war. Nowadays, over 400 million M&Ms are made per day.
  • The fastest a horse was recorded galloping at 88km an hour.
  • Koala bears have fingerprints almost identical to a human’s. And they are individual to the animal, just like ours.

Take care and happy reading,

P.S. I’d love to hear from you, so feel free to drop me a line.

On my bedside table at the moment is Desert Redempton, by Betty Webb.

Private eye Lena Jones lives and works in Scottsdale, Arizona, on the Pima Reservation, with her partner in life and Desert Investigations, Jimmy.

Lena’s backstory is intense. Aged four she was shot in the head and left for dead. She doesn’t know who her parents were or even what her real name is, but her memory is jogged when she discovers the body of an emaciated woman while out riding one morning, and she’s drawn into the workings of two organizations that have been established in the desert.

This is the tenth and final novel in the Lena Jones series. I wish I’d discovered Lena earlier, but this book can easily be read as a standalone.

Betty Webb was a journalist, her novels a little on the dark side – they are based on stories she came across or reported during her working life.


“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”
Lewis Carroll, (Alice in Wonderland)

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