I am in love with Russia. I’ve never been there, but the culture, the history, the revolutions, wars, politics, fashions, fairy-tales, names and language are fascinating to me. Plus I love winter and snow and fur coats. 😉 Probably one of my favorite novels is Eva Ibbotson’s A Countess Below Stairs. It gives me a taste for the Russian culture that I can’t seem to rinse out of my mouth. *shivers excitedly*
Honestly, I don’t pretend to know anything about Russia yet, so please don’t hold me in contempt if you do. 🙂
When my parents were dating and then engaged, 21 years ago, they helped an entire family (as in, the babies up to the grandparetns and all kinds of aunts, uncles, and cousins branching off to every side) of Ukrainian refugees acclimate to America. They helped them learn English through the Bible, comparing scriptures in each others’ languages, etc. My mom, who has always been good with linguistics, can still read and speak a little Russian. So now that these people have children of their own, children my age, I’ve been privileged enough to grow up going to the glorious, splendid, overly-catered-with-luscious-Russian-food weddings all my life. I love it all- the service is in Russian, and although I understand only a couple of words, I revel in it. The food is marvelous. The people are ALL lovely and welcoming (they learn your name and instantly start calling you family). The food is out of this world. The weddings are grand, extravagant, joyful and looooong. Did I mention the food? I am in love with this culture. If you can’t tell.
So it happens that I often draw from it. I don’t know as much as I would like (which I’m working on), but I do know a lot of names- and names are my favorite. 🙂 So here’s the list so far for Esmeralda (the * means I have a friend by this name) –
I mentioned someone named Willem once…
Leopold is eastern-European…
It has been mentioned to me that I might make the Russian theme a bit more apparent, more of the story, and I am thinking that on my second or third write I will do just that. Honestly that list doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s not only in Esmeralda that I do this. One of my more recent stories, The Capricious King’s Daughter, is set in a very Russian world- I’m still developing it, but winter is a key component, and the names of the characters so far are Asha, Eduard, Elizaveta, Dessa, Yuriy, Galina, Luba, Ivan, Fyodor, Milek, Georgiy, Efim, Pavel and Sergei. Haha…yeah, it’s an obsession. I love Celtic names too, as you’ll know if you’ve read Betrayal. 🙂