Readers have been asking about the origin of some of the character's names in Ticking: A Tale of Two Time Travellers. So, I've provided some background below, classified by imaginary and real:
Beatrice Westover: Shares the author’s wife’s maiden name. Audrey is the mother of three sons, Clark, Jordan and Adam. And, grandmother to Addisyn and Cameron.
Clive Rock: Affectionately named after the author’s transit planner colleague and boss. Like his Georgian counterpart in the book, Clive is a visionary, who developed the local fare zone system, amongst other innovations.
Harry Moody: A suburb of “Fraserdale”, Port Moody is where the author attended high school, home of the “Moody Blues”.
Helena Harris: Pronounced “Heleena” (a spelling that would not work in the mid-1700’s), she shares her name with the author’s paternal aunt; that is, his father’s father’s sister. Craig’s “Aunt Helena” would have definitely fit in with the aristocracy. She was an opera singer; wife of a Depression-era doctor who made a bundle writing prescriptions for alcohol; and socialite in the Chicago elite, which included her ex-pat Canadian friend Hal Foster, creator of “Prince Valiant".
Jacques DuTemps: His name being the French word for “time”, bien sur!
Jerry O’Flarity: Though not spelled the same, named after a local pro hockey player from years ago.
Daltrey: Named after, and bears a resemblance to, Roger of The Who (1983 press photo of Roger wearing a tricorn).
Mr. Jamieson: Named after the author’s younger brother, Jamie.
Mr. Pickett: Named after impresario, Mr. Hugh Pickett, who made major contributions to Fraserdale…err Vancouver's arts and entertainment scene. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 1986.
Skypilot Sewell: Shares his surname of the author’s paternal cousins, a dynasty of Canadian railroaders, some with an artistic flare. His given name will be discussed in a future blog.
Zachary Burling: Shares the author’s paternal grandmother’s surname. Edwina May was born in 1896 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Henry Cavendish (1731-1810) was simply the greatest experimental and theoretical English chemist and physicist of his age. His calculated imprecision in the experiment he performed with the assistance of Skypilot notwithstanding; the Royal Society distinguished him for his precision in his varied research. This included experiments regarding the composition of atmospheric air, the properties of gases, the synthesis of water, the laws governing electricity, a mechanical theory of heat, and calculations of the density (and hence the weight) of our planet. His experiment to weigh the Earth, known as the Cavendish experiment, was so accurate that it is within 1% of the currently accepted figure. And yes, he was painfully shy and did dress rather slovenly for a very rich man.
Henry Fielding (1707-1754) does not appear in person in Ticking, but his influence is felt nevertheless. He was a study in contrasts. On the one hand, he was a staunch supporter of the Church of England (which led to his being given the position of London's chief magistrate) and, on the other; he turned to populist political fiction to support an extravagant lifestyle.
Joined by his younger half-brother John, he helped found London's first police force, the Bow Street Runners. In a corrupt society, Henry was admired for his impartial judgments, incorruptibility and compassion for those whom social inequities had forced into crime. Henry's influential writings included a proposal for the abolition of public hangings. In another display of his polarity, he was not opposed to capital punishment, as he presided in 1751 at the trial of the notorious robber James Field, finding him guilty and sentencing him to hang.
Sir John Fielding (1721-1780) was blinded in an accident at the age of 19. Despite this, he succeeded his half-brother as chief magistrate, becoming known as the "Blind Beak of Bow Street" for his ability to recognize criminals, and others, like Henry Cavendish, by their voices alone. He was knighted in 1761. Together, the Fielding brothers enhanced judicial reform and improved prison conditions.
Jack Harris (d. 1794): The swaggering headwaiter at the Shakespeare’s Head tavern, Harris’s real name was John Harrison. He was a part-time pimp and self-professed author (he didn’t actually write it) of the “List of Covent Garden Ladies”, a popular guidebook of the area’s prostitutes. Printed every Christmas from 1760 to 1793; it detailed the appearance, sexual skills and fees of local prostitutes, reviewing them as one would a movie or restaurant.
“The Pimpmaster General” proudly admitted to being a pimp and in supplying the city with fine whores, all of who paid him for an entry in his famed parchment list. He had agents stationed throughout London who would meet arriving stagecoaches, recruiting young women who were just trying to find a new life in the big city. In addition, he somehow found time to operate a “Whores Club” from a private room in the tavern -- on Sunday evenings, no less.
Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795) was the founder of the pottery company that bears his name. He recognized that the middle class was expanding, as was its ability to purchase things like pottery. He pioneered various sales techniques, like a money back guarantee and travelling salesmen, and is consequently referred to as the inventor of modern marketing. And funny! Anyone who can pull off dressing as a gondolier as a subtle thank you had to be a funny guy.
Lancelot “Capability” Brown (baptized 1716-1783) was the most renowned landscape architect of the time. He earned his nickname as he was in the habit of viewing a subject plot and saying, “It has great capabilities.”
Thomas Chippendale (1718–1779) became the first cabinetmaker to publish a book of his designs, titled “The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director”. Three successful editions were published, with illustrations, propelling Chippendale to the forefront of his profession. The first style of furniture in England named after a cabinetmaker rather than a monarch, Chippendale became the most famous name in the history of English furniture at a time when such craftsmanship was at its pinnacle.
Thomas Arne (1710-1778) had to disguise himself, at a young age, as a footman to sneak into the opera, where his love and taste for music was formed. His father wanted him to become a lawyer, but Arne practiced in secret the violin and keyboard instruments. He is generally regarded as the most important English composer of the 18th century.
Thank you to the members of this longstanding book club for hosting me on September 16, 2019. They read "Ticking", sent me some great questions and listened with interest to the answers. I had a wonderful time (and I know Stanley did, too). I hope to return to discuss "Ticking: The Hawking Sequence" soon!