• 15 July 2010
    There are some weird names in "The Demonata" books!! I sometimes get asked why I use such strange names for my characters. The simple answer is -- "Why not?!?" One of the fun things about writing a fantastical book is that you have license to play around with names. You don't have to stick to the traditional, realistic favourites. So I like to play about a bit!!!! There's no one "right" way to say most of the names -- pronunciation is a purely personal matter when you're reading a book. But, for the record, here's how I say the odder names in the first 3 books of the series! (I haven't bothered including those which are straightforward.)

    LORD LOSS

    GRUBITSCH GRADY -- the hero of my first demonic dalliance is pronounced Grew-bitch (with a hint of an S in the "bitch" part" -- try saying it as if you have a lisp!) Gray-dee. I'm not sure where I got the name from -- I THINK I made it up, but it's possible it's a real name!!! On the audio CDs, Rupert Degas pronounces the name as Grub(rhymes with "hub)-itch. Which is perfectly fine -- as I said above, it's purely a matter of personal interpretation.

    GRUBBS -- of course, most people refer to Grubitsch by his nickname, which is pronounced pretty much as you see it, to rhyme with "hubs" or "cubs".

    GRETELDA -- is broken down as Greh-tell-dah. If I remember correctly, this was a play on the name "Gretel".

    DERVISH -- Der(rhymes with "sir")-vish(rhymes with wish). A "whirling dervish" is a member of a Sufi religious cult. They like to dance wildly to enter a trance-like state. There are also performers called "whirling dervishes" in the Middle East, who put on shows for foreign visitors (they usually perform on a double bill with a belly dancer). They spin around without pausing, and create beautiful, mind-boggling patterns by manipulating their loose layers of clothing. I've seen a couple in action and was mightily impressed (much more so than by the belly dancers I've seen!), so I decided to name Dervish in honour of them!!!

    CARCERY VALE -- Dervish's home village is pronounced Car-sir-ee Vale(rhymes with "pale"). I know, in the book, I said it was pronounced "Car-sherry" -- either is correct, but the one given here is more the way I say it to myself.

    LORD SHEFTREE -- the piranha-keeping tyrant should be pronounced Lord Shef(rhymes with "death")-tree.

    MEERA FLAME -- Meer(rhymes with "clear" or "peer")-ah Flame. She's named after a young cousin of mine whose name is pronounced the same but spelt Meara.

    DEMONATA -- the collective name for my charmling menagerie of demons should be said in the following manner -- Dee-mo-nah-tah. If you say it any other way, Lord Loss might appear in a puff of smoke in front of you and rip your tongue out!!!!!!!


    DEMON THIEF

    KERNEL FLECK -- Ker(rhymes with "sir)-nel(rhymes with "hell") Fleck(rhymes with "heck"). Another name whose origins I'm uncertain of. If I recall correctly, Kernel came before Cornelius -- the latter probably came from the "Planet of the Apes" movies!!!!

    PASKINSTON -- Pas-kins-ton. Named in honour of my editor, Stella Paskins!! Originally, in my earlier drafts, it was simply known as "the Village" and was a type of hippie commune. Stella convinced me that this approach wasn't working, and it should be an ordinary village with a real name -- hence Paskinston!!!!

    MRS EGIN -- Eegan(rhymes with "Regan" or "Keegan"). Named after a cousin of mine, Sharon Egin. (Her maiden name was MacKay -- her Dad was Davey, which is where Davey MacKay in "Lord Loss" came from!) It's actually a Turkish name, and in Turkey it's pronounced entirely differently!!! Sharon was a bit of a wild thing when she was younger, and her brother and sister always claimed she was a witch!! She's a lovely lady now, as meek and mild as anyone I know, but I thought it would be fun to pay homage to her wickeder days!!!!!!!!!

    CASPIAN -- Cash-pee-an. Named after the Caspian Sea, I suppose, though I don't know why!!!

    MELENA -- Muh-lee-nah. No idea where this one came from!!!! I often forget how I come up with names. That's part of the fun of writing for me -- the controlled chaos keeps things interesting!!

    BERANABUS -- Bur(rhymes with "fur")-an-ah-bus. Was considering "Barnabas" initially, but didn't feel that was quite right. (There's a Saint Barnabas, and I wanted my character to stand apart from all other names.) Finally came up with Beranabus. Wasn't 100% sure of it to begin with, but after a while it grew on me big-time, and noe it's one of my favourite names!!!!

    SHARMILA MUKHERJI -- Shar(rhymes with "car")-mill-ah Mook-er-jee. Sharmila is actually first mentioned in passing in "Lord Loss"!!!

    RAZ WARLO -- Raz(rhymes with "jazz") War-low.

    KALLIN -- the worm-like demons are pronounced Kal(rhymes with "pal")-in. But they don't really care how you say it -- they'll eat you raw regardless!!!!!


    SLAWTER

    LOCH & RENI GOSSEL -- Grubbs's new, wrestling-crazy friend is Lock Goss(rhymes with "moss")-ell. And his cute sister is Ren-ee. There will be more about the Gossels and Grubbs's other new friends later in the series ...

    JUNI SWAN -- the albino child psychologist working on the film set is Jew-nee Swan. Since I wrote this, I've read a few articles (tying in with "The Da Vinci Code") which criticise writers and film-makers for always casting albino characters as villains. I'm glad that kind-hearted Juni flies in the face of this criticism!!!

    KUK & KIK KANE -- the odd but harmless Kane twins answer (if they can be bothered!) to the names of Cook and Keek.

    TUMP, BO & ABE KOONIART -- the most obnoxious family in town!!! Daddy is Tump(rhymes with "bump"), the horrible girl is Bow and her sneery brother is Abe(rhymes with "babe") Koo-nee-art. But sometimes a cruel exterior can hide a surprisingly valiant heart ...

    VANALEE METCALF -- Bow's best friend is an empty-headed, spoilt, yellow-streaked girl called Van-ah-lee Met-Calf.

    CHAI -- Slawter's answer to Marcel Marceau is Chy(rhymes with "why").

    SUPATRA JAUN -- Sue-Pat-Rah Jawn(rhymes with "dawn") is a well-meaning but mild-tempered teacher who fails to exercise control in the classroom.

    CHUDA SOOL -- Chew-dah Sool(rhymes with "fool") is a sinister, eyebrow-less, immediately suspicious character. You can tell from the minute you see him that he's up to no good!!!!

    PRAE ATHIM -- pray you don't ever run into the cold-as-ice head of the Lambs, Pray Ah-teem.

    SALIT SMIT -- vain but nice child star, Sal-It Smit(rhymes with "fit"). Not a great actor, but he knows how to smile for the camera and make teenage girls go weak in the knees!!!

    EMMETT EIJIT -- Grubbs and Bill-E both like Em-Et Eee-Jit, but he's playing a character who is due to be eaten by a demon. Uh-oh!!!!!!!

    DAVIDA HAYM -- Dah-Vee-Dah Haym (rhyme with "game") is one of the world's foremost horror producers, writers and directors. She always pushes herself as hard as possible and is determined to make the most vicious, gory, horrifc, demonic film ever. No matter what the cost ...
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