Friday, May 12, 2017

The AnderSSon Conspiracy

There are a lot of characters named Anderson in my novel, Clouds Over Bishop Hill. I put them there for the best of reasons—I was in a hurry, and it was easier than coming up with a host of neat and clever Swedish names.

I’ve known quite a few Andersons from my time in Bishop Hill and from listening to A Prairie Home Companion, the radio show formerly hosted by Garrison Keeler. But I didn’t stop there, no, I did further research by checking out the local telephone books. Sure enough, I found lots of Andersons. Pages of Andersons. I figured I was good.

That was then. Now—I know there’s more to the story.

During my correspondence about visiting the Bishop Hill Museum in Biskopskulla, Sweden, I discovered that I was guilty of a major faux pas: I addressed an Andersson by using only one S instead of two.  

I first blamed it on my poor self-editing skills. I’ve had editors, real editors, find all manner of mistakes in my manuscript. The most embarrassing was the time I mentally wanted to use the word fridge, short for refrigerator, and instead I was really using frig. Frig is not a very nice word for a cozy mystery no matter what the context. I will always be beholding to Lyle Ernst for catching that one in time.

Lyle found the mistake all right, but he didn’t catch it on the first time I used the (bad) word—it was more like the fifth time. For one thing, it just goes to show how difficult editing is. And for another thing, I must work on expanding my vocabulary.

Since I knew there are many pages of Andersons in the area phone books, I made myself go back and look for Anderssons. If there were thousands of them in Minneapolis then surely there would be a good representation of them down here. I looked through the four telephone books I had on hand and was totally shocked to NOT find a single one.

The disappearing Anderssons appears to be a bigger mystery than what happened to the last Olof Krans portrait.

I will be asking more questions about this.

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