Saturday, 7 April 2012

Name That Princess!

Ski Cow - aka Princess Fresiana - takes a breather!
Long journeys are the perfect excuse for some serious daydreaming. Plotting a dastardly crime, figuring out clever clues, cooking up some funny dialogue . . . that's what keeps me occupied as I gaze vacantly out of the window at the scenery,  especially when I have a brand new Adventure Island mystery shaping up (don't worry, I'm talking about when I'm a passenger - if I'm driving I try to keep my head mostly in the real world!).




Spectacular Mountain Scenery
  I love how the cafe owner is casually leaning on the
cow's nose as he chats with the ski instructor!



This morning I was on the coach to the airport after an idyllic week skiing with my family, happily plotting away, while admiring the spectacular mountain scenery whizzing past, when I noticed that the two girls sitting across the aisle from me were getting a bit bored and were checking the location of the nearest plastic bags in a manner that had travel sickness alert written all over it.


I know that feeling. Yuk central!  I've learned that I can usually avoid it by (1) never, ever looking down in a moving vehicle and (2) never travelling on an empty stomach. And I also know that the only cure (apart from getting out and walking - not an option with a plane to catch!) is to have something to think about - apart from that horrible lurching feeling (if - lucky you! - you've never suffered from travel sickness, imagine you've accidentally swallowed a live octopus and it's now trying to climb its way out . . .) So, I asked the girls if they'd like to help me with my new book by thinking of some interesting names for one of the characters - a princess, no less!

My new friends Freya and Lily were on the case straight away! They came up with some utterly fabulous princess names. In no time at all I had a page of my notebook full (writing horizontally in front of my nose - remember, never, ever look down!) and we were pulling up at the airport terminal. After queueing for hours we found we were all on the same plane. I was handed a note. Lily and Freya, now joined by their friends Aileen, Emma and Eleanor, had come up with a whole list of names. Here are some favourites.

Rosalie
Carlotta
Morgana
Gwendolyn
Sasha
Melody
Arianna
Lucianna
Janelle or Genelle

Thank you for your help, girls! So many names to choose from there. I hope the rest of your journey home went well (and that nobody needed the plastic bags!) and that you have a lovely Easter.

I'm afraid that the mystery princess won't appear until Book 11, which is not due to come out until Spring 2013, so you'll have rather a long wait to see which name she chooses (the characters in my books usually end up having a mind on their own and picking their own names!). In the meantime I hope you'll enjoy the other books in the series. I have a feeling you might like Book 2, The Mystery of the Midnight Ghost, which features an all-action film star with the glamourous name Savannah Shaw.

Helen x


PS. With all this talk of princesses, don't panic, Adventure Island isn't suddenly going to turn all  romantic and fairy-taley! The Princess in Book 11 won't be wearing a spangly pink dress or a sparkly tiara - but she will play a part in a very baffling - and dangerous - new case for Jack, Scott, Emily and Drift.





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