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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Coincidences in fiction and how the last name Trumper got in my fantasy novel

The House in Windward Leaves will be FREE Kindle June 24-28

In this blog post, I would like to explain about the name Trumper in my fantasy The House in Windward Leaves. Simply said, I chose that last name for two boys in the story before I had ever heard of Donald Trump. That book was actually drafted in the 1980's, and then revised before I published it in 2011. In 2011, Donald Trump was in the news but fleetingly.

Statement made. Such as the statement made in books of fiction about any similarity of the characters to real life people being coincidental.

For a week, I thought of changing the name of the two brothers in my fantasy. With self-publishing, that's fairly easy. I could just change the names in my publishing file and re-submit the files for the printed book and for the e-book. So I made a list of names to replace Trumper.

Somehow, I couldn't come up with a name and I dreaded to change the book that way. Traditional publishing would never do that, I realized. Subsequent editions change covers and formatting, but if the text is changed, that is usually a big issue and explained in a preface.

I decided not to change the name because of that, and because books have traditionally gone through their time in a stable way. Being a used book dealer, I know that books need to surmount reader ambiance.

So Trumper remains the last name of the two boys. In the fantasy, they leave their parents' world and enter an enchanted world where their Halloween costumes become real. That world is basically run by children with only a few adult characters who don't mind being overwhelmed. Well, while the costume of one brother was that of a musician, a trumpeter, the other brother was dressed as George Washington.


Of all the coincidences! Of course, Roger Trumper's interior was not George Washington but he was compelled to be the president of the fantasy people. My imagination brought him to some confused moments of having “greatness thrust upon him.”

In the past year, some of my blog subjects have explored imagination. The idea of coincidence, I'm sure for other writers, has made them wonder about their imaginations and where their imaginations lead them. I've had this sort of thing happen before. It has seemed a trick of the collective consciousness – like the portal into a fantasy realm.

When I wrote The House in Windward Leaves, I was confronting the idea that children can decide what they want to be when they grow up. The book gave its children a chance to live that decision and the relief, finally, that they could find out for themselves because they had time.

Since, in my acquiring of collectible books, I bought a biography of George Washington that was published in the 1850's, and contained letters and real witness of the man. The book made me feel a little guilty about my handling of his legacy. I had a chance to change a few paragraphs. George Washington inherited Mount Vernon when he was fourteen-years-old. Within a year, he was persuaded to enter the English navy (his mother didn't understand how) , and then, was transferred to the English army that fought the French in the new world. Letters to his mother told how he was nearly frozen and starved. It is no mystery why this adolescent with land of his own eventually fought for his freedom and his inherited property. British law was keeping him from ownership until he was of age.

I hadn't learned that about George Washington. I thought it was alright for my fantasy characters to have a real challenge in a “new world.” Then I found that George Washington was only an adolescent when he had to live the days of a grown man. No wonder that his adult wishes eventually were to farm.

This had nothing to do with my fantasy. The name Trumper has nothing to do with the current election. A book should be within its own frame, and while it might rely on information the reader has, it is a story on its own.

In the year 2011, The House in Windward Leaves was a Finalist in the eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards. Then in 2013, it made Finalist in The Next Generation Indie Book Awards and The National Indie Excellence Book Awards. Also in 2013, it was in the Top Ten Books at Kid Lit Reviews.

The House in Windward Leaves will be a Free Kindle book for five days, June 24-June 28. Readers can find out for themselves if the book still holds its own despite a last name that might remind them of the current election.