So now that I knew who they all were, I needed to give my Time and Tenacity characters names. By the end of writing, Jane and Colin were the only characters who had the same name consistently. In one version, Cassandra, Eleanor, and Isabella were Eleanor, Emma, and Cassandra, respectively. I decided Cassandra was a better fit for Jane’s oldest sister, just like Cassandra Austen was Jane’s real-life older sister. Eleanor had the same first two letters as Elizabeth, and Isabella seemed like a good fit for Jane’s slightly bratty younger sister since it remains a fairly common name amongst preschoolers. Incidentally, all of my Regency characters had first and last names that are used somewhere in Jane Austen’s writing so I’d know for sure they were authentic (no Kevins hanging out in 19th century England!)
Even though it’s a bit cliché to name the heroine of a Regency-set novel Jane, it just fit in so many ways, from the character being a writer to Jane being a deceptively “plain”-sounding name compared to her sisters’. Colin and Brittany would be the only characters that kept their counterparts’ surname to better assure readers that Colin, and not Eleanor’s awful first husband, was Mr. Darcy’s counterpart; from there, the line “Colin Darcy, and yes that’s my real name” basically wrote itself.
As for the rest of the main characters:
- My father’s name is Charles and his father’s name was Ed, so in my mind at least Charles Bingley translated pretty naturally to Edward Phillips.
- Anna Kelly is a reference to the actresses who played Caroline Bingley in the 1995 and 2005 adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, respectively, as well as a reference to Anne de Bourgh, since she is engaged to Colin (though more formally so in Time!)
- Gillian was the name of a super-nice librarian I worked with during my practicum for my MLS who was originally from England, so it was the first name that came to mind when it came time to name a British woman. Besides the obvious Pride and Prejudice reference, I also liked Bennet because it sounded like another favorite time-travelling doctor of mine.
- Riley was a modern name that would stand out from the Regency ones, while Granger sounded old-fashioned enough that he could blend in in the 19th century.
- Brittany is my favorite Chipmunk… just kidding, I unfortunately have no interesting story behind her other than it was a popular name in the 1990’s.
- Fly’s name was originally Samuel, but I chose Francis instead because I could use it for three different generations of Jennings men with every generation having a different variation: Sir Francis, Frank, and Fly. Fly was also the nickname of Jane Austen’s brother Francis as a young child, a discovery that also helped me unlock a major aspect of Fly’s character: that he can run really fast.
- David Andrews is a reference to writer Andrew Davies, who has adapted four of the six Jane Austen novels, and who, like David is Welsh.
Thanks so much for reading this little tour through the making of Time and Tenacity! What part of the writing process are you the most curious about?