Some time ago, I made a post in my street team, Mrs. Roth’s Society Column, discussing imaginary name changes in the Kees & Colliers series.
My street team was NOT pleased. Because apparently they love the original names. Which, to be fair, they are memorable names, but if I had it to do all over again, I would definitely choose different memorable names. In general, there are a lot of things I would change about the Kees & Colliers series.
However, for the sake of argument, let’s talk about what I would change character names to if I were writing the series right now. Which, again, is largely copy/pasted from my street team and therefore in quotes.
I’m working on some Flowers in Her Heart edits tonight, and I’m just thinking, “Why on earth did I have to name these people when I was a child!?”
If I had of named them now, I wouldn’t have used Troy. I would’ve gone with Nick as I had originally intended. I love Troy on him now, but he’s always seemed like a Nick with the option of “Nicky” when he was young. He has that The Thin Man vibe, you know?
Never mind Nick/Judy from Zootopia (the trailers came out in 2015, which was when I originally firmly decided on Troy!). I could’ve made it work.
Besides, Nicolas is so French, and Troy is so terribly American.
Granted, I’ve been able to find it used around the time he was born, but still. Not my favorite thing.
I would’ve had Lola go by Lilou. I might’ve stuck with my original choice for Adele, too – Adelia. It’s more flowery, which I think fits her, though it’s not as harsh, either. Hmm. I don’t know. It would’ve been a subject of debate.
I also would’ve picked a different name than Judy (Judith Ann is all right, but it doesn’t really sound like something Adele and Troy would pick). Probably something flowery if not something more directly related to Kenneth. I made it work, but I could’ve done it better if I’d given myself time to think it out.
I did play with the names Elise, Dahlia, Daisy, Lilly – and in the original draft, she was Alise/Alicia. I originally settled on Judith/Judy because it sounded so very 1930s.
As for Camilla, she would’ve become Camellia. The flower name would’ve still somewhat honored Millie while remaining true to Adele’s personality.
I think they still would’ve named their son Kenny.
If I’d been smart and brave, Millie would’ve been Millicent. It feels more British than Camilla (despite the fact that the name is very commonly used in the British upper class for reasons we won’t get into again
shut up Harry & go away).
Because of when I wrote Souls Astray, and my deliberately non-detailed writing in first drafts of the other two books, I DID name Troy’s parents later in the game, which is where Estelle and Eben showed up. Estelle feels French nobility to me, and Eben is good for this quirky randomly-went-to-France-and-got-married-to-some-girl-he-met-there guy.
I do wish I hadn’t done double E names, because that makes their family Eben (or Ebenezer), Estelle, Eloise … and Troy. Poor planning on their part. 😛 Or mine, but whatever.
See, this was so much simpler when they were Claire-Marie (then Adelia then Adele), Philippe (then Nick then Troy), Alise (Alicia then almost straight to Judy), Henri (disappeared him), and Yvette (disappeared her).
Gosh, I miss The Sapphire of the Seine.
(Also, can you imagine a Peter/Alice story where Peter has known Alice since she was eight years old, meeting her every time he visited Paris as a struggling writer who visited Paris just ’cause he had friends there, and had one of those “oh, she’s a woman” moments when she turned sixteen because GiGi fueled my childhood? Because I have written a story in which that happened before I trashed it. It was super cheesy but also weird. ALICE kissed PETER of her own free will just because she could & knew it would mess with him, and she also at one point tossed his hat into a river, so like … not our girl. Peter was always Peter, though. He was confused and enamored and frightened, but very sure of himself once he figured things out.)
ANYWAYS, all this to say, just for funsies, here’s what I would do if I weren’t just doing a quick proofread & wanted to entirely overhaul this series (probably much to the fury of all my friends who love Troy and Judy as names, as I do, too, in some ways, if only because of affectionate familiarity).
- Troy Ebenezer Kee would become Nicolas Gabriel “Nick” Kee.
- Adele Elizabeth Collier-Kee would still be Adele Elizabeth Collier-Kee. Much as I like Adelia, it just isn’t right.
- Judith Ann Kee would become Liliane Elizabeth Kee, called Lily by her mother. It’s the perfect combination of French and traditional English, and I can totally see there being a battle over Lili vs. Lily. Troy would pronounce it “lee-lee.” It’d be adorable. (Also, then Troy would have a part of his heritage in Judy because Lili and Lilou are similar nicknames and Liliane feels like a smoother version of Leanne even though they are completely different names.) An alternative for her middle name, with the assumption that Kenneth had a different middle name, would be Liliane Georgia Kee or Liliane Roberta Kee.
- Eloise “Lola” Kee-Cole would become Eloise “Lilou” Kee … and then some traditional English surname that wasn’t Cole. I also don’t remember if she had a middle name, and I can’t find it in any of my notes, so I’m going to assume no. Maybe Leanne like her mother, so Eloise Leanne Kee-Taylor?
- David “Dave” Cole would just be David “Dave”, but with a last name that sounds a little less weird hyphenated with Kee. Let’s say David “Dave” Taylor.
- Adele’s family would still be the same. There’s nothing wrong with Louis, Elizabeth, Louis Jr., and Kenneth. I might change Kenneth’s middle name to something more traditional as I was trying to do something with “Judah.” Perhaps something like Kenneth George Collier or Kenneth Robert Collier.
- Of course, this means Kenneth Kee would still be a thing, but I’d consider something closer to Kenneth Nicolas Kee or Kenneth Gabriel Kee.
- Troy’s parents would be something more traditionally English and something more traditionally French that didn’t clash so much with Eloise. Maybe John and Leanne. Alternately, Nicolas Kee and Leanne Martel-Kee. I know Estelle’s brother is Henri Martel now, and I can believe Leanne and Henri as siblings.
- This would make Camilla Estelle Kee into Camellia Leanne Kee. Which I think is so cute! Could still do Cammy, though I can see Adele insisting that her NAME is CAMELLIA.
- Millie I might keep as Camilla or change to Camille, but that still sounds very foreign to me despite the fact that it’s pretty traditionally English. I think the best option would be to have Millie be short for Millicent or Mildred. Millicent Lark isn’t so bad.
- There is no changing Harrington. Never, ever, for any reason.So yup, those are some random thoughts I just needed to get out. Everything is staying the way it is, but my, do I wish it were this way. The aesthetic is so great!
I’d like to note that unlike other situations when I’ve suddenly gone off onto a rant about how I wish things were different, this is one case where I’m legitimately tied to my messy differences, so don’t worry. This all stays the same.
Do I wish it were different? Sure. But the Kees & Colliers series has always been my messy, imperfect series. I love it for what it is … a chaotic story of real-life drama surrounding real-life events.
And in real life, we don’t get to carefully curate a name aesthetic. People do weird things like name all their children “T” names except one, and choose honorific names that aren’t precisely related but sound similar, and use a mix-and-match set of nationalities.
They also do things that are actually bad, but this is what upsets me because I’m entirely shallow.
So we’ll leave the fantastic names in The Chronicles of Alice & Ivy and be happy with what is with this already-published series. 😉
Well, what do you think? Do you like the current names better or do you wish for a better name aesthetic? Have you read the Kees & Colliers series?
Are you interested in getting to know me & my books better?
I want to invite you to my super secret club. I mean, it’s not really a secret, because I’m telling you about it now, but here goes.
Join Mrs. Roth’s Society Column, my street team! We’d love to have you along for the ride!