Hi readers! If this post sounds repetitious, that’s because it is. We here at Authors Speak set up this fabulous opportunity for some lucky person to win an ebook from each of us—that’s right, the prize is nine books, one backlist book from each Authors Speak blogger. But then, the world went a little crazy and we all kept forgetting to tell people about it. So we’ve extended the time to enter until November 30th.
For more info about each author, check out their posts here on Authors Speak, or click on the menu tab above to go to the author’s personal blog.
Here I am with my first Lou Hoffmann contribution to Authors Speak! Not to get too serious too soon, I thought I’d start with a few little bits of information about the English alphabet. Why? Just for fun! After that, I’ll tell you a bit about who I am and what I do, author-wise.
Alphabet Fact #1—Quirky
You know that funny looking thing called an ampersand? The one we sometimes call an “and sign” even though we know it’s officially an “ampersand?” Well it’s got a strange history, and at one time it was a letter in the alphabet. (Came after Z.) And it wasn’t called an ampersand. Not at all. It was, indeed, “and,” having started out as the latin word “et”, which means—you guessed it—“and.” In some fonts and articulations, you can clearly see the rounded E joined to the lower case t, sometimes upright, often slouching to one side.
So here’s the funny part. Think about, when you were a child in grade school and you learned to sing the ABCs. Did you think there was a letter called “elemeno”? I’m not about to confess, but I know for a fact quite a few school kids need to get that misconceptions sorted at a later date. The way “ampersand” became “ampersand,” is via the same route. I guess it was hard to sing “and and” at the end of the alphabet song, so the words were, “and per se and.” Eventually, so many kids had slaughtered the pronunciation that it all became one word. Makes you wonder if someday we’ll find the elemeno key on our laptops. (Wonder what that would look like….)
Alphabet Fact #2—Historical
Do you know where our letters come from? The most immediate ancestors of the characters in the English alphabet are Latin letters (as for ampersand), and futhark.
No, really, futhark. That’s a thing. A runic alphabet, to be more precise. When you hear people talking about casting the runes and so forth, usually they mean futhark. (In reality there are other and older runic alphabets, and most of the time they were used for very mundane things such as recording events, making signs, writing lists, and—oddly enough—poems about giants who were mean to women.) One of the most recently lost letters in the English alphabet is usually referred to as “thorn,” and if you think it was pronounced “th” you’re absolutely right. I have no idea why th took it’s place, although early in its life, it did have a crossbar like t. Just in case you’re wondering, some people know pretty well how to write meaningful text in futhark, and if you have Microsoft Word, you have futhark in your symbols menu.
Tying these bits of alphabet trivia to introducing Lou Hoffmann, some of the character names in The Sun Child Chronicles series are derived from futhark runes. Prime examples: the wizard Thurlock (from thurisaz—another name for thorn—and kenaz), Isa (the rune is also called isa), and two of the young hero’s names, Perdhro and Mannatha, are indeed futhark runes as well.
Want to know a little about Lou Hoffmann? Here’s a brief bio:
Lou Hoffmann, a mother and grandmother now, has carried on her love affair with books for more than half a century, yet she hasn’t even made a dent in the list of books she’d love to read—at least partly because the list keeps growing. She reads factual things—books about physics and history and fractal chaos, but when she wants truth, she looks for it in quality fiction. She loves all sorts of wonderful things: music and silence, laughter and tears, youth and age, sunshine and storms, forests and fields, flora and fauna, rivers and seas. Even good movies and popcorn! Those things help her breathe, and everyone she knows helps her write. (Special mention goes to (1) George the Lady Cat and (2) readers.) Proud to be a bisexual, biracial woman, Lou considers every person a treasure not to be taken for granted. In her life, she’s seen the world’s willingness to embrace differences change, change back, and change again in dozens of ways, but she has great hope for the world the youth of today will create. She writes for readers who find themselves anywhere on the spectrums of age and gender, aiming to create characters that live not only in their stories, but always in your imagination and your heart.