Top Title Tuesdays
My Indie Book Title
Names are interesting things. Many times I’ve found that the impression I have of someone with a particular name is exactly the opposite of what I thought the person would be like. For instance, we’ve all heard from someone else about a person they’d like us to meet. We form an image in our mind based on the information our friend gives.
We might be surprised to find that when we actually meet, our thoughts couldn’t have been more wrong. Instead of a quiet, plump woman with short blonde hair and little to smile about we are introduced to a vivacious redhead with a curvy figure and an outgoing personality.
As a singer/songwriter for most of my life I understand the need to portray in words a character you have created in your head. You know all of that character’s attributes because you made him or her up, but no one else does. You can’t talk about the character as if everyone will understand. They may not.
When I began writing INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders about three years ago, I started out with an image. The more I wrote about the girl I had created, the more she came alive, until she was as much a part of my life as breathing. I knew she had black hair, crooked teeth and a jaw that set determinedly when she made up her mind to do something. The working title for my original manuscript was very ineptly named “Wildwood.”
Where I got that title I do not know. I called my protagonist Carrie Ann. For almost a year and a half as I breathed life into her the name didn’t fit. I kept writing, searching for a name in the online research I did on Gypsy culture and names. I found what I thought was just the right moniker only to find that it was already taken by an author who had created a similar book. At the time I knew nothing of that author’s work, so it was funny that I came up with the same name.
I hastened to change the name again. Nothing worked. In the beginning of the book the character is vehement about how much she hates her name and thinks it’s ugly. I thought about the people in my life that really hated their names and I came up with two. A friend named Bertha (who was young and very un-Bertha like) said she begged her parents to change her name. My mother’s middle name was Maude and she told me stories of kids calling her “mud” and of how much she cried over it. So I named my protagonist Bertha Maude Anderson.
Still, the name didn’t quite fit the character in my mind. I searched harder for Gypsy names and checked meanings. One day I sat down and started brainstorming. I tried several combinations of letters. I didn’t know about name generators at the time, but I do now. I looked down at my writing and there it was – INZARED! The name was regal, queenly, different, sounded vaguely Romanian and I could hear her in my head screaming yes, yes, that’s it!
Other writers in my critique group didn’t like the name so much. They urged me to change it – said it was too different and hard to pronounce. I actually thought about it but just couldn’t bring myself to do it. She had spoken. INZARED loved the exotic name – no more Bertha Maude Anderson – now she would be called INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders.
While I understand that not every book lends itself to this method of character naming, it worked for me. It’s unusual and the only one that comes up in an Internet search. Those who have read my book love it. My character is INZARED and she’ll never go back to being Bertha Maude Anderson. After all, she always hated that name.
My advice? If you are stuck naming a character or your book, do some creative brainstorming and doodling. Sometimes the strangest things come out of a session like that and you just might come up with an unusual name for your character or title for your book. I was lucky. I came up with both.
L.Leander is from Michigan, but spends the winter in Mazatlan, MX, with her husband Ralph. She finds the beauty of the tropical city a creative place to write, work on her music, and quilt. Ms. Leander draws on the richness of her rural childhood in many scenes of her novels. “I was lucky, I guess,” she admits. In a farming community you learn to do everything, be self-sufficient. Churning butter, butchering, planting, and canning were the norm. I learned to cook and sew at a young age.” As a child, she always wanted to run away and join the circus. She is living that dream in the pages of her first novel, INZARED, (Queen of the Elephant Riders), and the sequel she is currently working on. “I’ve been called a wanderer most of my life,” she says, “so it is easy to understand why I set my novel smack-dab in the middle of a gypsy circus.” Join Ms. Leander as she takes you on an unforgettable trip into the circus as seen through the eyes of a young woman from the hills of Appalachia.
Bertha Maude Anderson has no inkling of how famous she will become. She lives in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina in the year 1843. Her world changes forever when she is enticed to join The Romanoff Brothers Circus and her name is changed to INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders. Inzared discovers her true calling while learning to live with the nomadic Gypsies. From the hatred shown by some of the performers to the love she finds along the way, Inzared finds herself immersed in the rich folklore and customs of the misunderstood people who call the circus their home. Her one constant is Cecil, the elephant, and together they form a bond that no one can break as Inzared finds herself lured into the world of the Gypsies while clinging to her own roots and trying to break free of the chains that keep her from her destiny.