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Monday, March 10, 2014

What’s in a Name, part II :: Anne McAllister

Last month, you may recall, I asked for suggestions for my upcoming herione’s name.  There were lots of great ones – thank you very much. She turned out to be Eleanor, called Nell, thanks to Mary Preston. 

This month, I thought I would share with you an ongoing discussion I had with the marvelous Anne Gracie about names for heroes.  This began when she started writing her Brides series with The Autumn Bride and wanted to call her hero Charles.

I have no big problem with Charles. I wrote about a hero called Charlie myself. But Charles sounds sort of bland to me. Especially for the man she was writing about. 

Anne’s hero seemed edgier than a Charles, bigger than a Charles (my grandfather, Charles, was not a big man, so I have a precedent for the name).  I suggested, pleaded, begged, sighed and moaned -- and eventually he became Max. He’s a wonderful Max. It’s a wonderful book.

And then she started on the second book, the one about Damaris, the Chance “sister” who came from China where her father had been a missionary.  Damaris has pain and secrets and, above all, she needs a strong hero. 

“So,” I said, “who’s this hero going to be?”

And Anne said, “You already know him. It’s Freddy.”

Freddy? I said. What kind of name is that for a hero?

The rest is history – and here is Anne to tell you about it:

Freddy? What kind of name is that for a hero?

That's what Anne McAllister told me a year ago when I first told her who the hero was going to be in the second book of my 'Chance sisters'  series.

2WinterBride_2"Freddy? she said. "You can't have a hero called Freddy."

"Watch me," I told her.

Anne McA and I have been writing buddies for more than a dozen years. It started when I (an Australian) set a contemporary romantic comedy in Montana. Anne McAllister practically owns Montana. "Send me this story," she said. "I'd like to see an Aussie write about Montana."

I did. She liked it. She corrected a couple of small mistakes I'd made, and we've been good friends and writing buddies ever since. We email and talk on the phone, brainstorming and chatting, and we send each other bits to read and critique. We're respectful of each other's writing —we like each other's writing — but neither of us pulls our punches: if we think something doesn't work, we'll say so. You're no kind of writing friend if you pretend something works when it doesn't.

Which brings us back to my hero. "Freddy?" she said. "What kind of name is that for a hero?"

We generally agree on what kind of a hero we like. Strong, honorable, masterful, kind, often wounded deep down, but refusing to show it — that kind of hero. We've had disagreements on hero names before, and usually she's convinced me. Charles is not a hero name. And neither is Freddy.

Freddy, she insisted was a name for a secondary character, a lightweight, a frivolous, entertaining rattle.

And really, she's right. My Freddy is all of those things. I suspect his name was inspired by Georgette Heyer's Freddy in Cotillion.

My Freddy first makes an appearance as a secondary character in The Autumn Bride. He's an elegant, careless, frivolous rake, with a horror of marriage and muffins -- not the edible kind. In his own words:

"A muffin is dull, earnest, generally plain—though occasionally you’ll find one lurking behind a pretty face—and is bent on marrying a fellow and making his life a misery. Reforming him. Forcing him to do Good Works and attend Improving Talks.” He shuddered.

So he's not the strong, silent, tortured alpha kind of hero. He's very much the beta-type and is everything AMcA said a Freddy would be — an entertaining rattle who nobody takes too seriously. He's a frivolous rake who aims to stay that way.

As sole heir to his father's title and fortune, not to mention his own private fortune, he'd been a target for match-making mamas and daughters since he'd first appeared in society. From the beginning he'd made it clear he had no interest in marriage, and once he realized respectable mamas and daughters avoided rakes like the plague, he'd done his best to encourage his reputation as a rake to grow. 

But in the last year or so his mother had apparently informed the mothers, aunts and grandmothers of every eligible female in the kingdom that he was contemplating marriage —she might as well have put a notice in The Gazette, curse her!—and as a result, wherever he went, muffins popped out of the woodwork.

He wasn't contemplating marriage, dammit! Not with anything other than horror.

And don't we know, as romance readers, that them's fightin' words. When a hero swears off marriage in the strongest terms, we just know he's heading for a fall — of the most delicious sort.

You can't have a hero called Freddy?

Just watch me.

*********

The Winter Bride by Anne Gracie

coming April 1st 2014

So what do you prefer, the alpha kind of strong silent tough wounded hero? Or do you sometimes enjoy a change of pace with a beta guy? Who's your favorite beta-hero in romance?

Anne's giving away a copy of the Winter Bride to someone who leaves a comment

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ps:  Me, again. Anne McA.  Just so you know – she pulled it off. Freddy is a magnificent hero. And yes, there will be a copy of Freddy’s book, The Winter Bride,  for some lucky person who makes a comment.  Will post here later this week who the winner is so you can get in touch with me. Thanks, all. And thank you to Anne Gracie – and Freddy!

**************

UPDATE!!!!   Anne Gracie has chosen JULIE as the winner of a copy of her book, The Winter Bride.  Julie, if you will please email me at anne.mcallister (at) gmail.com, giving me your mailing address, Anne or I will send your book out to you. Thank you to everyone else for your comments, too. Freddy looks forward to meeting all of you between the pages!

53 comments:

Mary Preston said...

I can see myself loving a Freddy. I don't know that I do have a favorite beta hero. Maybe Freddy!!

Anne said...

Thanks, Mary. There's a lot to love in my Freddy, I think. But then I'm biased. *G*

cate nugent said...

Nothing wrong with a chap called Freddy.... I know a lovely Freddy....but he is only 12 :)

Anne said...

And I'm sure he'll grow up to become a hero, Cate. Thanks for dropping by.

wolfquilter said...

I don't mind a hero named Freddy. He sounds like he is a very fun, loving, loyal guy who would do anything to protect and honor her, and once he finds his true love, his inner alpha will show.

Anne said...

He is, Wolfquilter and he does. I had a lot of fun writing Freddy and he really did turn himself into a true hero.

S E Gilchrist said...

I've loved Freddy as a hero ever since I read Cotillion. Very amusing book. I have all of Ms Heyers books (rather a bit tattered now). I must say that I instantly envisaged your hero to be a bit similar, the steady friend, amusing, a bit of a rattle, maybe also enjoys playing the fool a bit, stays in the shadows but quite capable of stepping up when its necessary. I think your Freddy sounds perfect for this story.

Anne said...

Thanks. Freddy in Cotillion is a delight, I agree. My Freddy isn't quite the same, but I did want someone who was that kind of amusing rattle — at least on the surface. And it's when you get beneath the surface that he gets more interesting.

Julie said...

Muffins! I'm delightedly by this new term. Big, strong alpha types are choice, but I'm open to betas, too. They're so lovely and caring!

Helena said...

I've never known anyone called Freddy apart from the hero of Cotillion, who is adorable. So I look forward to reading about this one!

Judy said...

I wondered if Freddy would end up on the chopping block. He threw down the gauntlet so decisively, who could resist the challenge? I'm an alpha fan, but more because too often beta's are portrayed as feminine rather than masculine in their own right. Freddy never came across as feminine. April 1st can't come fast enough.

Anne said...

Yes muffins is Freddy's own term for them. And I think you'll enjoy his slow transformation.

Anne said...

Helena, it's been a while since I read Cotillion, and all these mentions are making me want to pick it up again. I hope you enjoy my Freddy.

Anne said...

Judy, chopping block? LOL. Well, he does end up chopping quite a bit of wood. *g* And you're right, he's not a feminine kind of man, just not the brooding, alpha type. I hope you enjoy his journey.

erin said...

Hahahaha... I love the idea of "muffins" :) I love a great beta... they are entertaining and smart and can throw a punch if needed. The strong, silent, brooding characters gets to be a bit much after a while, so a nice beta is a breath of fresh air :) Congrats to Anne on her newest release and I love the name Freddy!!!

Lucy Abarcia said...

Hey, one of my all-time fave heroes is called Frederick (as in Capt Wentworth from Persuasion) and I can just imagine Anne calling him "Freddy" in private. I would :) I think it's an adorable name.

Roz @ My Written Romance said...

Oh, I totally agree on the Captain Wentworth thing.

Freddy is a lovely name - as I am sure he will be a lovely hero!

Kaetrin said...

I love a beta hero!

Anne said...

Thanks, Erin. My Freddy can indeed throw a punch, though you wouldn't think so at first. I hope you enjoy him.

Anne said...

Waving to Lucy (who runs a brilliant bookshop!) I hadn't through of Capt. Wentworth, but of course, yes, he's a Frederick. not sure he'd be a Freddy, though. Nor a Fred. As AMcA said, names can be tricky.

Anne said...

Thank you Roz, I think he's lovely and I hope you do too.

Anne said...

Thanks, Kaetrin -- I think they're nice for a change.

Di said...

Freddy deserves an HEA too! Sounds like Freddy is the right hero for Damaris.

Cataluna6 said...

Freddy sounds like a delightful rake, I love nothing more than watching rake's falling in love. I love an alpha as much as the next girl, but sometimes you need a beta to 'be there', as Erin said, they can be a breath of fresh air. Looking forward to The Winter Bride Anne :)

Chris said...

Anne, Freddy is a great name for a hero...and I straight away thought of Cotillion! And as Lucy said, there's Capt Wentworth from Persuasion, not to mention Prince Frederik of Denmark. I'm sure Mary calls him Freddy sometimes!

Anne McAllister said...

Wow, I can see that there area lot of Freddy fans here! Who knew? I'm delighted -- and you won't be sorry when you read about Anne's Freddy. I'm a fan of beta heroes myself. Some of my favorite that I've read about and some of my favorites that I've written have been 'beta' in some editors' eyes. In my they are just "McAllister heroes" just as Anne's are "Anne Gracie heroes" -- all of the wonderful and yet each unique.

Thank you, Anne, for sharing Freddy with us. Remember, those who have commented, to check back in a few days to see who Freddy's winner is!

Sarah Boyle Webber said...

Why haven't I read Cotillion? I need to.

Cynthia Owens said...

I think I could love a hero named Freddy. Personally, I've always loved the "strong, silent, wounded" type - to read and to write - but I'm also working on writing my first beta hero. Not sure how it'll go, but I'm looking forward to finding out! ;) Can't wait to read The Winter Bride!

Lorri said...

I'm thinking of Fred, or Freddy in current royal terms. The name Freddy reminds me of Prince Harry a bit. A diminutive name but an entertaining character. Goofing around, and not expected to live up to the high expectations set for his big brother William, he's like the underdog. The "quiet" one, the dark horse. No-one would expect him to step up to a challenge, let alone triumph heroically. I like the name Freddy. It's intimate and surprising.

The name also reminds me of Anne's friend in Anne of Green Gables who fell for quiet, reliable, red faced Freddy. Looking forward to hearing more about him.

Sharlene said...

Some Beta's I can think of are Carter in "Vision in White" by Nora Roberts (love him!), Don in "The Rosie Project" by Graeme Simsion and Jeremy from "In Pursuit of Eliza Cynster" by Stephanie Laurens. I am looking forward to Freddy's story

Anne said...

I think he is, Di — I hope you agree.

Anne said...

Thanks Cataluna -- I like Erin's term "be there" too. My Freddy was a breath of fresh air for me, too. I hope you enjoy him.

Anne said...

Chris yes, some some excellent heroes called Freddy or Frederick. I think I remember reading somewhere that Prince Frederik first introduced himself to Mary as "Fred." Works for me. :)

Anne said...

Thanks, Anne, and thanks for inviting me to blog with you.

Anne said...

Sarah, you do need to. It's not one of Heyer's most popular books, I think perhaps because Freddy isn't an obvious hero at first. But it's wonderful.

Anne said...

Cynthia, Freddy isn't my first beta hero, though I usually go for more alpha types myself. But sometimes a hero will be who he wants to be, regardless of the writer's plans. A man called Gideon was the hero in my first book for Berkley, and while I'd planned him as alpha, he simply refused to brood. Instead he cracked jokes. And to my amazement, readers loved him. So I'm hoping they'll take Freddy to their hearts, too.

Anne said...

Lorri, thanks for those thoughtful insights. Yes, it's the stepping up to the challenge that makes a secondary character a hero. And I'd forgotten about the Freddy in Anne of Green Gables. Thanks.

Anne said...

Thanks Sharlene. I recently read The Rosie Project -- lovely story, isn't it? Thanks for those other suggestions, too. I don't remember the Nora Roberts title at all. Must chase it up.

Barbara E. said...

I do love the alpha hero, especially the tortured/wounded ones. I don't mind a beta hero occasionally, they're a nice change of pace, but I can't think of any favorites.

Robyn Aldridge said...

Anne McA needs a history lesson, Anne G. Frederick the Great has a genealogical research group named after him, DEADFREDdotCOM. When he was a little Freddy, he wouldn't have had the 'Great' tag. Just goes to show how characters evolve over time, especially if they've been created by Anne Gracie!

Anne said...

Thanks, Barbara.

Anne said...

Robyn, actually, Anne McA knows her history -- and her genealogy -- better than most people. But Fredericks born to royal positions aren't at all the same as romance heroes. Thanks for the vote of confidence, though.

Unknown said...

Sometimes nice guys finish first. Looking forward to meeting Freddy! He sounds delish!
Malvina

Mary Chen said...

It's really nice to read about a hero whose name and behavior would normally typecast him into secondary character territory in the realm of modern historical romance. I enjoy the name Freddy as much as it fits with his unique last name, and his joke about muffins. I love the humor in your books! :)

Anne said...

That's a lovely thing to say, Malvina -- and very true. Thanks for dropping by.

Anne said...

Thanks, Mary -- yes it is a secondary character sort of name, but there's more to Freddy than meets the eye. So pleased you enjoy my humor, too. :)

Anne said...

But he's not joking about muffins — he'd DEADLY serious! ;)

Sasha Cottman said...

I love a beta hero, you can have so much more fun with then than a dark, broody alpha.

Anne said...

Thanks Sasha -- I certainly had a lot of fun with Freddy, but I still like a dark hero as well -- as long as they don't brood too much. Variety, that's the thing.

Eli Yanti said...

Freddy is okay for me :)

So ashamed to admit that I don't know how is my fav beta hero because I don't who is beta hero, aplha hero etc. I only enjoy reading book, even sometimes I can't answer artist/actor who is suit to cast the hero in this book or those book, poor me :(

Anne said...

Eli, don't worry -- the important thing is that you joined in the conversation. Thanks. And you read these books in English, which is not your native tongue that's brilliant!

Laurie G said...

I go with the author's discretion. I loved Fred Flintstone as a child and I had a neighbor named Freddie. I like the name.

beta heroes-

Colin - Julia Quinn-Romancing Mr Bridgerton
Jackson in VLT's Nerd in Shining Armor
Peeta on Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games trilogy

Anne said...

Thanks, Laurie, I hadn't thought of Fred Flintstone -- so many Freds, so little time. *g* And thanks for those beta-hero suggestions. Spot on.