I’ve been busy on the last revisions of Surrender to Ruin before I send it to a trusted reader. The hero of this book owns a gaming hell and some brothels which he continues to operate despite having inherited a title. As I wrote the book, I gave him a partner in the business. This was due to a number of things having to do with plot and research that indicated hells were frequently run by more than one person.
Without spoilers, his partner is from India, a man who came to England as the servant of an Englishman and then found himself without a job because his former employer’s new bride objected to his presence in the house. He and my hero meet as near destitute young men in London and embark upon their life skirting the edges of legality. They make a lot of money in the process. The life of boxer Bill Richmond (I interviewed Richmond’s biographer in that post) made it clear some of our notions of diversity in the Regency are very wrong. If you haven’t read the biography, I urge you to do so. It’s a wonderful book. Richmond clearly earned social distinction. He was a participant in George IV’s coronation ceremony. Not someone who watched. He participated in ceremony.
My hero’s partner, therefore, is an Indian man living in England, who is wealthy and a businessman in his own right. And he needed a name. I could have made one up. Instead I asked one of my former colleagues from India if I could use his name. He and I worked very closely together in a fast, tense environment. I did indeed explain that the character would own a gambling hell and brothel. And he graciously agreed to let me use his name for the character.
And now, as I write and flesh out this character, I keep thinking of my friend and colleague who lent his name. And, well, if this character seems super smart and really, really nice, it’s because the person whose name I’m using is both those things. He was always going to be awesome, since he’s my hero’s buddy, but now he’s really awesome.
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Names are funny things, arent’ they, Carolyn? They really do suggest character. That’s why I’d have a hard time with a hero possessing an unheroic name. That’s why the names we choose for our children is so important.
I am looking forward to reading Surrender to Ruin now! I never thought to ask one of my Indian friends if I might use their names. I went to grad school with a girl from India who majored in both business and music. The business degree was so she could eventually take over her father’s VERY lucrative business. She is such an amazing lady, but we were stunned to discover when she finished her MBA that she was going home to an arranged marriage! It had been arranged when she was a child. However, when her fiance came from UCLA to University of Southern Mississippi for her graduation we were wishing her parents could arrange a marriage for all of us! Good Lord, that man is a handsome devil! He studied engineering so he could help in her father’s business. Technically, once they married he would be the head of the company, but SHE would be running it while he did research and development. This was in the 80’s and they are still happily married and doing well. And he is STILL a handsome devil, drat him!
And working in a bakery at Walmart you would not believe some of the names we have to write on cakes. And apparently none of these folks who are naming these kids know anything about the IPA. They spell names in such a way that the pronunciation is NOTHING like it is supposed to be. And, I am sorry, if you have to consult the child’s social security card to check the spelling of that child’s name – you have NOT done your kid a favor. There is unique and then there is ….
He chose engineering to help his wife’s company. That’s awesome no matter what.
It truly is, Carolyn. Of course he is always the first to tell us Avril is the one in charge of the money because he can’t even balance a checkbook. What is so endearing is how proud he is of her accomplishments both as a musician and as a businesswoman. He is definitely one in a million, but then so is she!