The people have spoken! And they all disagree with each other!
Which is as it should be. But you’ve narrowed down the list considerably, while still leaving some discretion to the author (me). Thank you.
Of the finalists, I was sorely tempted by Ogden, since it has nice associations (Ogden Nash) and a perfect etymology (the Internet seems to think it’s an English name that originally meant ‘oak valley’). But would anybody really name a child Julia Ogden? It doesn’t quite trip off the tongue. I always get stuck in the middle — those adjoining vowels, with a glottal stop (or whatever it is) in between them.
Julia Pierce got several votes, but it’s just a little too … Brosnany for me. Dryden is nice, but I agree with whoever pointed out that it’s too close to ‘dryad.’ Barbour — also nice, but it’s an Iconic British Lifestyle Brand, and I have a coat by them, and I can’t name Julia after a coat. Reese: that’s my accountant’s name. See above.
Bottom line, I’m going with Wicker. Short, sweet, euphonious, distinctive, natural but not too dryad-y. I know no coats or accountants named Wicker. Yes, there’s the association with The Wicker Man, now permanently tainted by the wickedy-wack Nicholas Cage remake, but I can get past that. Julia Wicker.
Let’s say Ogden’s her middle name. It’s a family name. Thank God that’s settled. Julia Ogden Wicker.
I have no other news to relate. The Magician King appeared on some year-end best-of lists, which made me very happy. I gave some interviews. I’m spending a lot of time plotting out the last Magicians book, scene by scene. I’m about 3/4 of the way there — I want to have a really solid plan in place by the end of the year, so I can then go to Australia and write the hell out of the thing. (That’s not a figure of speech. I’m really going to Australia. It’s summer there.)
It sounds kind of prosaic, but outlining is a big part of the process for me. I’m not an improviser: I like to have a lot of the structural interconnections in a book mapped out before I start writing. Then I can switch them around and add more as I go — it’s like the book is a brain, and it’s forming little neuronal pathways (neurologists, feel free to write in with everything that’s wrong with that analogy). That’s part of the point of novels for me: they’re little worlds where everything is woven together with everything else, everything is linked, and everything pays off.
Except a few things that are artfully placed to remind us that in real life, hardly anything pays off.