Another email today from a reader saying, ‘Do you know that when I Google you, I get your photo but with the bio of an American Jane Davis?’
Yes, dear reader, I do know. I am clearly not American because I have bad teeth. But I’ll admit it. I’m nostalgic for the days when I was only mistaken for Jane Davis, author of The Big Beautiful Book of Beads and Complete Guide to Crochet and Knit Ponchos Wraps and Scarves.
I blame my parents. In a quest for names that couldn’t be shortened, they settled on Jane, listed as the seventh most popular girl’s name in the UK in 1964. I’m willing to bet its ranking had risen by 1967. When the name was called in my high school class, no fewer than four girls answered.
Whilst Davis (Welsh origin, meaning son of David) is the 45th most common surname in the UK, it is the 7th most common surname in the US and 15th in Australia. 1,522,326 people have Davis as a surname. But I don’t have the most common female name in the UK. That honour belongs to all of the Susan Smiths. In fact, I don’t even make the top 10.
Yours truly. I was not blond for long.
According to the site https://uknames.gbgplc.com I only share my name with 120 other adults in the UK. In fact, I learned that Jane is far more common when combined with my mother’s maiden name, Taylor. More surprising is the fact that the name I would have chosen as a pen name – a combination of my middle name (Eleanor) and my mother’s maiden name (Taylor) – would also have proved more common than Jane Davis (150 living persons of that name in the UK).
On my book page on my ex-publisher’s own website my bio appears as:
Jane Davis is the Director and founder of The Reader Organisation (TRO), a national charity dedicated to bringing about a reading revolution by making it possible for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to enjoy and engage with literature on a deep and personal level. Their ‘Get Into Reading’ read-aloud groups reach people who may not otherwise read, including people living in deprived areas, the mentally or chronically ill, older people living in Care Homes, prisoners, recovering addicts and excluded children. The organisation started on Merseyside but has since expanded across the UK and beyond.
I frequently get emails and invitations that are intended for this Jane Davis. Sometimes I accept them. (Don’t tell!)
PS. We also blame our parents for the home haircuts!
If they can’t get it right, what chance do I stand with Google? In Google my author photo appears with the following bio:
Jane Davis teaches in the English Department at Iowa State University. She was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University and has taught at Fordham University and the University of Rochester. Born: 5 August 1954 (age 63)
There is also a Jane H Davis who writes military wives’ memoirs. The list goes on!
But in June 2017 a new search result overtook all of us. ‘Who is Jane Davis?’ Who indeed? Apparently she’s a character on US TV series House of Cards (deputy undersecretary of commerce for international trade, but one particular theory is that she’s a former CIA agent). Could they not think of a more unusual character name???
Still, none of us have anything to complaint about compared with bestselling author Milly Johnson, who recently discovered that her name and profile was being used to pedal low-quality fiction!
Update 23 October: Good Grief, there is yet another new author called Jane Davis on Amazon, published 20 October 2017, except she is Lady Jane Davis. No author bio, but I can see from look inside feature that the book is dedicated to the author’s mother, the real Contessa Alvena M Johnson, nee Strathman.
PS: Look out for my 50th birthday bonanza sale, when all of my self-published ebooks will be reduced to 99c/99p!