Let me introduce you to the real Wixumlee.
Readers often ask how I came up with this unusual name for a character in my second historical novel, Wixumlee Is My Salvation. I say I heard it while working as a magazine editor 15 years ago.
So, imagine my surprise when a woman named Wixumlee sent me this email:
I googled my name recently and up popped your book title. I have never known anyone with that name and am interested to know where you came up with it. I am anxious to obtain your book for that reason…I hope you will take the time to respond to my e-mail.
I did respond and quickly.
Your email gives me goose bumps! I’m quite certain I first heard the name Wixumlee right out of your mouth.
In the mid-’90s I was editor of a regional publication called Genesee Country….One day a woman called for information and I asked for her name, address, etc. She said her name was Wixumlee (and I do not remember the last name). I thought, “What a great name!” I asked if it was a family name and the woman (you?) said it was just the name she was given. I thought, “I’m going to use that name in a book someday.”
And I did! Now here you are writing to me. I’m still shivering. This is so cool.
In a follow-up email Wixee said she is thrilled to be the inspiration for my book title. She also reports her mother was reading a short story in a ladies magazine where a character was called Wixumlee. “I’ve always wished I could find that magazine,” she said.
It’s a habit of mine to listen for distinctive names and write them down in a notebook. I think I wrote Wixumlee on a scrap of paper long since lost, but I remembered it. How could I not? It’s so unique!
Thank you, Wixee McMaster for that long-ago phone call. And for googling your name and being inquisitive enough to contact me. Isn’t the Internet wonderful?