One of my favourite things about cozy mysteries is the title. While an eye-catching cover is important, a clever pun has me giddy with glee to dig right in. The first cozy mystery I encountered was Murder, She Meowed, by Rita Mae Brown. My sister introduced me to it several years ago. It brought me so much joy, I actually kept the book in my purse for weeks—even after I finished the delightful story—because I just couldn’t get enough of the name.
Today, cozy titles still give me instant gratification. Ginger Bolton’s latest offering, Goodbye Crueller World, had me counting down the days for its release from the moment I heard its title. So, what is it that draws a reader in? For me, it is the promise of a story that captures the joy of the name. I know that when I am finished reading a cozy, justice will be restored without any tears shed. It is like a contract between author and reader.
But the title of the book is only one of many parts of a book that require a label. What about the characters? How important is it to choose the right name for each individual in a story?
I first began writing books soon after my first child was born. Choosing a name for her was something I had given countless hours to in the months leading up to her birth. After all, it wasn’t just me making the selection—my husband had opinions, too. We talked into the wee hours of the night on several occasions before our daughter was born discussing names we liked and those we didn’t. Compromise has never been my strong suit, but it was a fun exercise and made us both realize how the moniker one is given can present an image or leave an impression even before a person is known.
While I will refrain from giving you my personal spin on what goes into a good choice for a name or rules one should follow, I will leave the reader with my final thoughts, as an author and a mom. Do not make your choice an open discussion. Only involve one or (if you must) two individuals to agree on a name. Do not ask for opinions or suggestions from others or you will find yourself in an awkward position. We tend to seek approval from those around us that we love and care about. This is one of those rare occasions where I advise against it. Keep it simple and go with your gut.
Lynn McPherson has worked for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, ran a small business, and taught English across the globe. She has travelled the world solo where her daring spirit has led her to jump out of airplanes, dive with sharks, and learn she would never master a surfboard. She now channels her lifelong love of adventure and history into her writing, where she is free to go anywhere, anytime. Her cozy series has two books out: The Girls' Weekend Murder and The Girls Whispered Murder.
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