Sunday, January 6, 2013

Name Origins

Dead Roads (now officially two words in the title, though remaining one word in the text, go figure) is now available at my publisher's, . You can, apparently, get it as an E-book too, which is quite thrilling -- all come April 2, 2013, which is not so far away.

In other news, the nice folks doing the audio book have contacted me, wondering exactly how I pronounce "Riopelle". Ha. That's the least of their worries. I hope someone there speaks French, especially some form of North American French (I'd settle for chiac, or even joual, or Cajun French...all good).

A word, then, on the origins of the actual name, "Robin Riopelle".

This is my birth name. The name given to me by my birthmother before placing me for adoption. I grew up with another name (which is why many of you know me as Liz), but Robin Riopelle has been part of my personal identity since I was around 13 (when my adoptive mum gave me my adoption papers). I've been on contact with my birthfamily for more than 20 years now, and everything is about as good as you could hope for. I love them, they love me, I know who my "mum" is (that would be the woman who raised me), but I also have an enormous, incalculable connection with the woman who gave birth to me, and who gave me my first name.

One of the characters in Dead Roads has been disconnected from her birthfamily -- I'm not saying that she's me, but I understood a lot of what she experiences, how she might react to situations, how she perceived nuances, because I've been there. I know what it's like to re-connect with birthfamily after years apart, how difficult and weirdly easy it is to forge bonds -- and how impossible it is to shake or even want to shake, the connections you have to the people who raised you.

So, Robin Riopelle. I've published under my adoptive name (mostly museum-related articles, etc.), but this is the first thing under my birthname. It seemed time.

p.s. for the record, it's pronounced "RIO-pel" or REE-a-pel", according to my sister and brother who were raised with the name.

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