Hi everyone! I am very excited to welcome author Clare London to Joyfully Jay! Clare is here today to talk to us about her new release, Freeman. She has also brought a copy to give away to one lucky reader. So please give a big welcome to Clare!
WHY FREEMAN? By Clare London
As a title for the book, the easy answer would be that it was a working title that stuck. Have you ever found that to be the case? A title isn’t immediately obvious when you start writing, so you decide to file the work in progress as “book XXX”, “FinishByXmasOrElse”, “The Mystery One”, or just “That B****y Book”. Then, as time goes by and the novel takes shape, the working title can’t be shaken off.
And for the character himself? The same thing happened with him. I can’t even remember where I got his name from, but one day it was there, and it stayed. Determinedly. Relentlessly. Doggedly. Dear me, that’s just like Freeman himself!
And why only one name? No one ever mentions Freeman’s first name in the book, not even the man himself. Maybe it’s like Inspector Morse, who doesn’t reveal his first name until the end of the series. Or like many a star in the public eye who’s known only as a single name. Is that behaviour kitsch? Coy? Paranoid? There are probably a variety of reasons for it, and to be honest, I can’t presume to know Freeman’s motivation.
He just is.
Names of books and characters are important to me. Sometimes the names declare themselves very firmly to me, right from the start. Even if I try to change them later on, it just won’t work!
And sometimes I have to seek for a while to find the right names. For a book, I’ll often look for inspiration in a poem or a popular saying. For a character, I’ll search lists of baby names of all ethnicities and sources, looking for the right sound and meaning. For example, Maen in Branded came from the Welsh word for “rock”, because that’s what he is to Dax and the other soldiers under his command. Niall in 72 hours means “champion”: Red in Flying Colors (out in Oct) is really called Richard, meaning “powerful leader”. I like to play with the names, you can see!
And yes, you’ll have guessed already I expect – Freeman was a prime example of the first situation.
What do you think about names? Do you like seeing new ones? Do they turn you on or off in a book? And will you forgive Freeman for being so taciturn about his own?
Thanks for visiting today!
Clare London … Writing Man to Man
“Why the fuck have you only got one name?” Kit grumbled, his only greeting as I opened the door today. “Just says Freeman on your postbox. Some old guy in a purple shirt and tie wanted to know who I was delivering to.”
“What did you tell him?” I was interested to know how Kit might have spoken to the old guy who was actually a retired member of the House of Lords.
Kit shrugged. His hair was loose around his neck and his eyes were moist from the fresh air outside. His grin was infectious. “Told him I didn’t give a shit if Freeman was the name of a company, a professional wrestler, or a branch of Amnesty International, so long as I got a signature. Didn’t bother me again.”
I grinned back. I’d had my morning shower half an hour ago, though I was still walking around bare-chested and barefoot in nothing but my sweatpants. I padded back to the kitchen to start breakfast, Kit following me. I could feel his gaze on some unidentified point between my shoulders.
“So why just the one name?”
“You’re just Kit,” I replied calmly.
He grimaced. “That’s different.” I’ve got something to hide, is what he meant. A real name…a history.
I let it pass. We went into the living room and he flung himself down on the couch, the cushions bouncing underneath him. He tossed his baseball cap carelessly onto the arm.
“Eggs?” I asked, moving around behind the kitchen counter, fetching out a pan. “I’ve got plenty. You like them with bacon, I know that.”
“And I know fuck all about you,” he said softly.
I glanced over. He was staring at my half-clothed body, and his eyes flickered quickly and guiltily up from my torso. I grabbed a clean T-shirt from a pile of laundry on the counter and tugged it on. I smiled slowly. “There’s no mystery. I’m just a businessman.”
Kit stared for a while longer. I could feel his eyes on me while I broke eggs into the pan and the oil fizzled noisily into the silence. “No mystery, right. A businessman who lives in a fucking expensive flat, on his own, with some weird neighbours. With no sign of what that business actually is. A man who drinks too much coffee and works out of an alley behind the high street. A man who’s young and pretty fit, but who watches strange films and listens to old music.”
I grinned. “That’s me,” I replied. There’d been a time when science fiction filled the cinemas and soul music wasn’t classified as old, of course. And I’d pass quickly on the comments about my looks. “You want to listen to some of that old music while you eat?” I lifted the eggs onto plates for us both, piling toast and bacon up beside them.
Distracted, he stirred and yawned. His eyes lit up at the sight of the food. “Sure, whatever. You got ketchup?”
That’s how he was. How we were.
Available at Wilde City Press
Freeman’s return to the city is quiet, without fuss. Another client: another case. He’ll source what they need and be on his way. But he’s been missed by more people than he thought: his ex-wife, his ex-lover, and his ex-business partner. And at least one of them wants him the hell gone again.
Freeman – private, controlled – just does his job. But when he strikes up an unusual friendship with the young runaway Kit, trouble comes looking for both men, ready to expose secrets that can destroy their fragile trust. Yet, for Kit, Freeman’s more than ready for the challenge.
Clare is offering up a copy of Freeman to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest closes on Thursday, September 5th at 11:59 pm EST.
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