Well, technically I am, but I’m packing to leave for New Mexico which ought to be a HOOT since I don’t do well at altitude and I have to give this creativity workshop for the first time…but I think we’re going to have a great time and I’m really looking forward to it. Also, I’m signing at Page One Books on November 8 at 6:30pm, so please stop by if you’re in the Albuquerque area!
In the meantime, I’m answering a reader question. Jaye wanted to know why Nicholas is referred to as Brisbane. There’s a short answer–that’s just how I hear it in my head–and a longer, hopefully more satisfactory answer. In Victorian times it was perfectly common for people, even family members, to use surnames when referring to a person. Now, the most polite usage would be to say “Mr. Brisbane” but I think we all know we’re not always perfectly formal when referring to or addressing family members and close friends. The people who use just “Brisbane” are either intimate enough with him to be casual or elevated enough to feel it’s acceptable. Certainly he doesn’t mind. And there is the occasional whiff of classism from some characters in the more casual usage. It isn’t difficult to imagine Bellmont using it because it seems a trifle dismissive of a man he doesn’t always like.
As for Julia, she uses her husband’s surname because it is how she came to know him first and it evokes memories of their uncertain courtship. I don’t show their most intimate conversation to the reader, but you can rest assured, the occasional “Nicholas” is used, as well as a few other endearments he would no doubt blush to have shared with the world.