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Kris Kennedy here, for my first post as a MamaWriter, and I am so excited!
As I think about all the different angles this wonderful blog can take, I get excited anew each time. I think of all the things we have to learn from each other about being a mother and being a writer, and those overlapping parts of our lives. We’re like a very pretty Venn diagram, all our stories and babies overlapping each other.
And, over and over, I keep returning to my awareness of how much there is in common between being a mother and being an author. Such as . . . naming them.
Seriously, how much time did you put into naming your baby? Yes, your child. And yes, your book.
Do we not apply ourselves with industry to this task? Paper baby or living baby, a name matters, doesn’t it?
People often love to name their books. Sometimes it’s a struggle, but when you hit on the right one, it’s as if music starts playing. (You all hear it too, right? The music that starts playing when I find a great title?)
I know I will one day be a wise, published soul who realizes my pretty, perfect title doesn’t matter. Veterans of the biz know this. They know their pretty, perfect title will probably be changed, and they’ve set aside the things of their youth, i.e. those pretty, perfect titles, and simply think of their story as “HeroBoy, Version One.”
In fact, an upcoming novel is, in my mind, simply “The Jamie Story.” No need to communicate deep themes. He’s hot, he’s torn, he’s Jamie. (Waving to Renee’s 16 month old son of the same name, different spelling)
But then there’s my May release. It’s my debut book, and it’s titled THE CONQUEROR. Yum.
Know what its pretty, perfect title used to be? The Kinds Of Wanting. Aww. Is that pretty or what? Will it sell? Hmm. One wonders. Or rather, I wonder. My editor did not. Thus, THE CONQUEROR.
What do you hope to communicate by YOUR story’s name? Is it about selling, positioning? Is it about your heart? Does it reflect your h/h’s journey? Does it highlight the sexual tension?
Why did you give it the title you did?
Or, did you give up naming your stories, because your wonderful, wise, publishing-savvy editor is just going to change it anyhow?
Imagine if someone in your child’s third grade class said, “Your child will be much more successful if he was named . . . Jack.”
And speaking of children . . .
What did it mean to you, the name you gave your child? My husband and I agonized for months over the name we chose.
We didn’t even know whether we were having a boy or a girl until the delivery. (Aside: My husband almost fainted when they held up a slippery creature and with male reproductive organs. There I was, 36 hours in labor, reduced by medical emergency to a C-Section, and my husband almost passed out at the site of what he sees several times a day. Only much smaller. Hey—maybe that was it!)
But my, did we struggle over that name. So much so that they said they would not let us out of the hospital without a name. Family and friends were calling, stopping by, asking, “What’s his name?’
We Don’t Know!!!
Why, though? Why did it matter so much? ‘
I think, maybe, because it’s a gift to our child. A gift of what we want for him, what we believe is possible. Maybe a testament to what she can be in the world. Maybe a promise, to her, of what is possible in her future. A name that conjures memories of the past, to inform him of where he comes from, and guide him as he goes.
It’s always about possibilities, isn’t it? You can be this, sweetie. This good, stretching soul.
Albert: Noble and famous
Matthew: Gift of God
Hannah: Grace; favor
Yes, it’s just consonants and vowels, but it’s more than that. It’s our blessing, to go out in the world and be known as . . .
Séamus. That’s what we named our son. Séamus. Pronounced SHAY-mus.
Have we doomed him to a lifetime of not only spelling the name, but explaining the diacritical mark above the ‘e,’ and which way it points? Why on earth would we do this to him??
Because the name matters.
So, I think you know my question to you: What’s In A Name? �