I'm sure you all know about the Baby Name Thieves. You know, the friends, old and new, who are pregnant around the same time as you and who, in the middle of discussions about stroller brands, stretch marks and Braxton Hicks contractions, steer the conversation around to baby names.
'Caspian-Romeo if it's a boy and Amaryllis-Francine if it's a girl,' you confide. 'How about you?'
'Oh, we haven't decided yet,' she says. Then when baby pops out around two weeks before yours (these people are always slightly more pregnant than you) and you get a flowery message announcing that their angel has landed, funnily enough the name is Caspian-Romeo or Amaryllis-Francine. And if ever taken to task, they will airily deny any memory of the name conversation and avow that Caspian-Romeo or Amaryllis-Francine has been their favourite name since they could lisp around the teat of their own baby bottle.
And you have to call your baby John.
It is now my painful task to announce to you that the Baby Name Thieves have cousins. The Novel Name Thieves.
It turns out that my perfectly wonderful first novel (yes, yes, the one in the bottom drawer, no need to remind me) shares its title with the name of a rock band. My second (yes, yes, it's still unsold, no update, again...) shares the name of a blogger. My third I think is as yet unstolen (perhaps because it is very long). The fourth, half finished novel, shares the name of a song. The fifth, well OK, the idea in my head that may or may not ever be written, but which already has a title with which I am very pleased, I discovered in the library today shares the name of...another novel.
Who are these evil people, the Novel Name Thieves? How do they find me? Is this an alien probe situation?