When I speak to an audience of readers, the question I hear most often is: "Where do you get your ideas?" The second most frequent is: "How do you pronounce your name?" That's much easier to answer!
Carola--just like Carol or Carolyn or Caroline. NOT Ca-Roll-a, let alone Corolla, Crayola or any similar trademark. However, I do forgive people who say it wrong--the first four or five times.
The next thing people say is "I've never heard it before. Did your mother make it up?"
No, she didn't. If I remember correctly (which I frequently don't), she once told me she named me after a favourite book called Life as Carola, by Joan Grant.
This is one of an interesting series supposedly describing one of her own incarnations, as was her first book, Winged Pharoah, set in ancient Egypt. I read and loved Winged Pharoah, but I could never quite bring myself to read Life as Carola--altogether too weird!
I've met several Carolas, too. My godmother had a cousin called Carola. After I left school (Friends' School Saffron Walden), I understand another Carola arrived there. When I lived in Carlsbad, California, I had a call from a lady called Carola who'd read about me in the local paper. And in Eugene, where I live now, the head of the area's forestry service police turned up at a book-signing, not because she was interested in the book but because her name was Carola. So we're not common (Heaven forbid), but I am not alone.
I've met a Carola in at least one mystery series: Robert Barnard's Charlie Peace has a daughter of that name. And another mystery connection--this is an old poster for a phonograph, owned by Larry Karp, author of The Ragtime Kid.Here are some other Carolas:
Carola's Parotia Bird of Paradise. Do check out this link and see them dance.
Historian Carola Oman, author of one of the best biographies of Nelson ever written, or so I understand.
Another queen: A Swedish princess who became queen of Saxony. There's a port in New Guinea called Queen Carola's Harbour, which I think must be named after her, but I couldn't get a picture of it. The Parotia may also be named for her. I like the look of her!
I just googled images of Queen Carola's Harbour and found a pic of me and several of my book covers! Also a painting by Paul Wyeth, on sale at Christie's, of his wife and daughters, Mrs Titula Wyeth, Carina and Carola in the Studio.
And then there's the Swedish singer Carola, who won the Eurovision song contest in 2006!
So, you see, I'm in good company, though I have to admit I don't know how any of these Carolas pronounced our name.
PS I hate to boast, but I just heard from my UK editor that according to The Bookseller:
[And Die Laughing is at #5!]
The accelerators chart comprises books that have been out for at least two full weeks and have experienced the biggest week-on-week sales boost. All data derived from Nielsen BookScan
I'm not sure of the significance, but it sounds good!