Daingean author Geraldine O’Neill is to include up to a dozen of her fan’s names in her next novel, thanks to a Facebook call-out that proved wildly successful.
Last Friday Geraldine asked if any readers would like to see their name as a character in her as yet untitled eleventh novel. Dozens of interested fans replied, keen to take her up on the offer, and since then Geraldine said she has been busy working some of the names into her work.
“I’m at the stage where it’s still easy to change names,” Geraldine said, explaining that the deadline for the book to be completed is not until November. “It’s a great way to connect with people,” she added.
Already Geraldine has gotten to work the names Margaret McCormack, Mary Ellen Mooney, Paul Moore, Claire Ryan, Anne and Patrick Trimm into her new work - a novel about three sisters who run a pub/shop in the Tullamore area in the 1960s - and she has promised to update fans when she adds more.
Furthermore, she says she’s made a long list of names people are keen to see used, and if she can’t use them in the current book she will try to use them in other projects.
Geraldine explained that choosing character names can be difficult. “It often happens accidentally that writers use people’s names - and as I was working this morning I was trying to remember if I knew anyone with the names of my main characters to make sure I avoid it,” she explained last Friday.
The names of real fans that Geraldine uses in her next work will be fictitious of course, and will bear no resemblance to their real life counterparts.
In addition, she said it’s important that the names she chooses suit their characters and the novel’s setting.
“You can throw the odd unusual name in,” she said, “but by and large about 80 per cent of them have to be true to the time, the place and the character.”
Geraldine is currently back writing full-time, after taking a break for for a number of family celebrations. Her tenth novel, ‘Music from Home’, was published last year.