Friday, December 7, 2012

Princess of the Silver Woods Blog Tour: The Character of Names with Jessica Day George

What should one name Twelve Dancing Princesses? Jessica Day George is here with her thoughts.

The world of my twelve dancing princesses is based on late 18th- early 19th century Germany.  So, when in doubt, I just tried to think of a great German name to use.  Of course I cheated a little: Court physician Hans Wilhelm Kelling bears the name of one of my college German professors, who is from Bremen (and does indeed have impressive eyebrows).  Walter Vogel’s name comes from a medieval poet, Walther von der Vogelweide, whose most famous poem has him sitting on a rock contemplating the world (as Walter is doing when we first meet in him PRINCESS OF THE MIDNIGHT BALL).  

The princesses, however, are named after flowers, which sort of easy and sort of hard.  Rose, Lily, Poppy, Daisy all came to me easily: they’re pretty flower names, and I’ve always particularly liked the name Rose.  Petunia is an old family joke that would take too long to explain (long story short: my family thinks the word petunia is hilarious).  Jonquil and Lilac amuse me because they are lovely flowers but if you say the name often enough you realize that it isn’t all that melodious.  Violet was originally named Campanula, after Lady Tottington in Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit! But when my editor complained that it looked like a skin disease and not a flower, my sister suggested violet!  

The place names and people from countries beyond Westfalin are all based on real European countries.  I tried to twist the names a little, or give them new endings, in order to make it seem different.  Breton is, of course, England, so there I just used the most British names I could think of and VOILA! 

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