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  • David Fine

Behind Aggie Boyle: How the Name and Some of the Other Characters came to be

The original story I told my daughter is only a snapshot of what this book is today. The day I came up with Aggie Boyle was like any other day. My daughter got into bed and called for me to come in and say goodnight. She was sitting up in bed waiting for me to make up her nightly bedtime story, when I walked into her room that night. I asked about her day like usual and what she said made my wheels start turning. A friend at school was bullying her and to top it off, she thought that she was not as pretty as the other girls. I knew then that I had to come up with a very special story that would help her through her anguish. In order for my daughter to relate to the stories I told her, I would make the main characters female. To add some variety and to play to her interests, the stories would rotate between fairies and witches. Based on the day my daughter had, my gut told me that a witch character was best here.

Since the stories were always spontaneous, details such as character names would come to me as I was telling the story. For the main character in this tale the first name that popped into my head was Agatha, but that didn’t sound right – too old for her to really relate to. I wanted a witchy sounding nickname for Agatha. Then it came to me; Aggie! It just sounded perfect. Usually the characters in my stories would only have a first name, but this time I wanted to mix it up and give her a last name too. The three witches from Shakespeare’s Macbeth appeared in my mind. “Double, double toil and trouble...” Toil stuck out to me but just didn’t sound right. Wondering what rhymed with toil, the name Boyle came to me. Hmmm, I thought to myself, Aggie Boyle sounds like a pretty good name for a witch. From that moment on, a brand-new tale about a young witch named Aggie Boyle was born.


As the story started developing, other characters were added. At first there were only a few. When I told this story initially Aggie’s mother didn’t even have an identified name. The two boys she met early on were the next characters to get names. Like Aggie’s name, Levi and Isaiah stuck out. At the time I had no idea where the story would take me. I was literally making it up as I was telling it to her. The original short story ultimately ended, but when I decided to start writing my book much more evolved and with that came more characters. This time my love of history and research drove me. It has always been very important to me that even the smallest details were historically accurate. I knew time periods often determined the names that were popular, so my research began. As you read the book, you’ll likely notice many historical details throughout from popular names, styles of homes, buildings, food, and activity choices. In the coming weeks I’ll introduce to you more about this. Stay tuned and happy reading.


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