Today on the blog I’m featuring a Q&A with my awesome agent Kerry Sparks and Miek Bruno, her talented co-author and colleague at Levine Greenberg, Inc. The duo came up with an ingenious take on the baby naming book, Hello, My Name Is Pabst, subtitled Baby Names for Nonconformist, Indie, Geeky, DIY, Hipster, and Alterna-Parents of Every Kind.
While I’m sure Hollywood types will be tripping over their designer diaper bags as they race to make this book their baby-naming bible, it’s not just for parents-to-be. Writers, for instance, will find it perfect for discovering new character names. And it’s great fun to read! The name categories themselves are hilarious, and I found myself laughing out loud as I poured over its pages.
Where did the idea to write a baby-naming book for alterna-parents come from?
Like most great ideas, it started as a joke, after our boss sent around an email about his grandchildren’s names for his pet fish. Pet names naturally went to baby names, and we work in book publishing, so then it just clicked, “someone needs to write a book about this.” We wanted to explore—and maybe poke a little fun at—how “out there” baby names are becoming. We hope people will get a kick out of it, but also discover that there are some pretty cool unusual names and helpful tips laced throughout the book.
What was that process of co-writing this book like? Who came up with the title?
The process of writing together was surprisingly smooth. We both bring a different point of view to names—Miek tends to like the crazier off-the-wall names whereas Kerry (a lifelong baby name junkie) gravitates toward “real” but unique names. We each did a first draft on half the chapters, then the other would edit the other half and came up with the title together.
What kind of research was involved?
We wrote the book in a relatively short period of time—it sold in October 2011, we had to deliver a final draft in February 2012 to have enough time for back and forth before the October 2012 publication. As far as research goes, it was more that if we thought of a good topic to frame a chapter, we would then look for a bunch of names relating to that. For example, we have a chapter for Bicycle Friendly Names that include bike brands but also cyclist terms and gear too.
How many names are in the book and how long did it take to gather them?
There are over 1000 unique names in the book and we were really adding names up to the last minute and spent months combing unlikely places for good names.
How is the book organized?
The book is not organized like a typical baby name book. It has 76 different themed chapters like Names that Will Fit Into Skinny Jeans, Vegan & Gluten Free Names, Names for the Zombie Apocalypse, etc. with about 50 or so names in each chapter—we wanted to give people a start, but also let them find that cool unusual name on their own. It’s not alphabetized or genderized, but there are plenty of helpful tips in the intro and epilogue on Spelling, Nicknames, Last Names, Spouse/Family Objections, Internet searches and so on.
Would you love to see this become “The Gift” to give at baby showers along with gender-neutral onesies and What to Expect When You’re Expecting?
Yes, yes, yes! You can help make that happen by clicking here right now and buying your own copy!
Can you reveal some of your favorite names? Any you would consider naming your children some day?
Well of course we can’t reveal our actual favorite names (for fear they would be stolen by the masses!) but a few top choices include: Vandal, Minnow, Zippo, Birdie, Pez, Zevon, Malbec, Ida, Arturo, Roam, Hoag, Decoy, Loos, Adelie, Mavic