Friday, January 2, 2009

Names and Death

New lists have just come out for the most popular names for children born in 2008, and Jack headed the boys list for the 14th year running! I'll definitely keep my hero's name as Jack Nightingale. I have just hit 76,000 words and have done what I often do when I'm writing a book - I've written the end. I did it today, a scene in a basment where Jack is using a Ouija board to talk to his recently-deceased friend. As I said before, it's very different from the usual books I write!

For anyone interested, the top ten favourite names for boys were: Jack, Oliver, Harry, Alfie, Charlie, Thomas, Joshua, Daniel, James and William.

The ten most popular names for girls were: Olivia, Ruby, Grace, Emily, Jessica, Sophie, Chloe, Lily, Mia and Lucy.

One of the main themes of the book I'm writing is death, and I had a sense of how precarious life is on New Year's Eve. I saw in the New Year with my daughter, watching a fireworks display from the window of our apartment. There was a big display in Soi Ekkamai, one of the main roads off Sukhumvit and we had a great view from our apartment. The display started at midnight and it was amazing. A few minutes later and we heard ambulance sirens heading down the road to Ekkamai. Lots of sirens. A nightclub in Ekkamai had gone up in flames and more than sixty people, mainly young Thais, had died and many more were taken to hospital. They were wrapping bodies in sheets and laying them on the pavement. A lot of the kids were under-age, the fire sprinkle system wasn't working, there was no emergency lighting and only one exit. There are many wonderful things about Thailand, but health and safety regulations aren't high up their list of priorities.

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