Just a couple Easter eggs left, and none of them chocolate, alas.

Okay. I have a confession to make. I’m going to be the disappointing Deb this week because I don’t actually have a whole lot of easter eggs in Architects of Memory.

Some authors love leaving easter eggs hither and yon, but I’m just not in that group. Some of the names can be tracked to real people, literary figures, and characters on shows I’ve watched, but any connection more than “huh, that’s a cool-sounding name” or “this name fits the culture/heritage/background of their world” is rabidly tenuous. Instead, my naming schemes generally fall under more complicated strictures that are actually kind of boring.

That said, I do have a couple of easter eggs hanging around:

—My main character’s last name, Jackson, is a direct reference to author Shirley Jackson, who changed my concept of what fiction could do when we read “The Lottery” in tenth grade.
—Aurora Company is named, in-universe, for the beautiful Northern Lights, because everything they create is beautiful (ahem); out-universe, it shares a name with my Cabbage Patch Kid, Aurora Opal, whom my dad fought tooth and nail to obtain in the Toys’R’Us Wars of 1983. I still have her. Apparently people were literally throwing punches the night Dad bought her for me. I figured a book about extremely late-stage capitalism deserves that kind of backstory.
—Kate Keller is named after the Kate in Taming of the Shrew. Back in 2004, I was Biondello in a community theater production of this extremely interesting play. In this case, nobody gets tamed. Nobody ever gets tamed in my novels. Ever. Not even a Kate.
—Alison Ramsay is named after chef Gordon Ramsay, for no other reason than I often imagine him waving my manuscript around screaming “IT’S RAW! IT’S RAAAAWWWW! YOU TOTAL IDIOT SANDWICH!” and it’s absolutely inspiring. Thanks, Gordon!

Ahem. Anyway.

During the drafting process, my family and friends’ names stand in for supporting characters because of how my brain works. I find it much easier to find and work with characters if I recognize the names during editing and they’re familiar to me, and end up giving characters their “real” names later, replacing my friends’ names. After all, nobody wants to be named after the evil guy or the incompetent weirdo, right? A lot of those names ended up in the acknowledgements, so make sure to read them.

One of those names stayed, though, after I renamed everyone. Captain Valdes gets his name from Valerie Valdes, the author of Chilling Effect, who consistently inspires me with her amazing craft talk and her ability to craft consistently glorious books and stories. Valerie, I assure you there is nothing connected between your name and the fate of our dear captain. Nothing at all. I believe there’s a reference still in there to John Appel, the author of Assassin’s Orbit, who is also a captain. John helped me brainstorm a key plot twist in Architects and it wouldn’t be the same novel without him.

Now, back to the other Debs. I can’t wait to hear what you all have backstage!

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Karen Osborne

KAREN OSBORNE is a writer, visual storyteller and violinist. Her short fiction appears in Escape Pod, Robot Dinosaurs, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Uncanny and Fireside. She is a member of the DC/MD-based Homespun Ceilidh Band, emcees the Charm City Spec reading series, and once won a major event filmmaking award for taping a Klingon wedding. Her debut novel, Architects of Memory, is forthcoming in 2020 from Tor Books.

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