Winks 1 - Names
“The gentleman's name was Mr. Worldly-Wise-Man.”
The Pilgrim's Progress, Pt. I, John Bunyan, 1628 – 1688
When it comes to naming characters in a novel, you basically have three options:
- use (always with their permission) the name of a real living person,
- invent a name,
....or try to say something through the name you choose.
As I state in the Acknowledgements section of the novel, several people who had helped with either research or proof-reading/ review (sometimes both) were given the option, as a personal thank you, to have a character named after them. Their name, however, is the only thing used, there being no similarity with any other characteristic or action.
Inventing a name can produce great results also. Who doesn’t remember Auric Goldfinger or Moriarty, a couple of classic villains? (Incidentally, Ian Fleming’s hero James Bond was purportedly named after the author of a book on bird-watching.)
Option three can be fun though…
I decided to name some of my characters as a tribute to the many who have done sterling work in unearthing (literally, in many cases) the past of Ancient Egypt and who have not become so well known as Whatsisname, you know, the guy who discovered King Tut’s tomb.
Jodie Petrie… Professor Sir William Mathew Flinders Petrie (1853 – 1942) probably did more for Egyptology than anyone else. He brought a scientific methodology to the business, shaming what had been very shoddy work done by his predecessors. Over 37 years he performed investigations at almost every major site in Egypt.
His book, “Pyramids and Temples in Giza” (which can be found here) was written in 1883 and is still a standard for Egyptologists worldwide. He was chosen to head up the British Museum’s Egypt Exploration Fund’s expedition on merit alone and, with the magnificent amount of 250 pounds per month which had to cover both the dig and his personal expenses, landed in Egypt in 1884. He is, all in all, a fascinating character and well worth reading about if you have even the slightest interest in archaeology. However, his presence as a prominent reference in the novel is more than justified by what is his most significant discovery: the existence of an extensive period of civilization prior to the First Dynasty, now universally called the Pre-Dynastic Period.
Saïd Hakim & Kamal Awyan… Abd’El Hakim Awyan was an accredited Egyptologist and Archaeologist, as well as an Elder and the custodian of the ancient wisdom and history of the Khemitian people. He spent his life trying to help the world understand the marvels of the Khemitian people through conferences and book collaborations (for example: here and here).
Now, ever so many people have insisted that my character, Abdel Awyan is none other than Dr. Zahi Hawass, the (at time of writing) Egyptian Antiquities Society General Secretary. This is NOT true. Dr. Hawass is a leading figure in modern Egyptian archaeology and seems to do his very best to promote that country’s ancient history whenever and wherever he can.
He has an amazing website (here) which I would encourage you to visit. I personally applaud his enthusiasm and wish him well, as his retirement looms. He was indirectly referred to in the novel as the author of the quotation made by the General Secretary after the first televised exploration of the South wall “air” passages. Recently (July 2009) he has also overseen another robot attack on these passages in conjunction with a team from Leeds University.
Gerald Reeves… Carl Nicholas Reeves (born 1956), a modern-day, British Egyptologist and discoverer, using Ground-penetrating radar, of several tombs. Prolific author of “Akhenaten: Egypt’s False Prophet” (here) and many other works related to Egypt, his web page can be found here.
These are the name-related Winks, I own up to. If you find any more…