Teaser Tuesday: Lord Vaughn Returns!

Well, not exactly.

You may have noticed that my fictional worlds tend to intertwine. No matter how hard I try to write something unrelated, it invariably links back to Pink, such as “A Night at Northanger”, which was meant to be a one-off– until I decided I liked the heroine so much that I had to put her into The Garden Intrigue.

A similar phenomenon has happened with my new 1920s book, Ashford Park. (Note: the title will probably change.) I’d meant this book to be Pink-free. It’s set between 1999 New York, 1910’s London and 1920’s Kenya, about as far away from Napoleonic spies as you can get. This was all going very well until my friend Chantelle said, “Put Lord Vaughn in there!”

Of course, I wasn’t going to have Lord Vaughn time travel. That would be too creepy (as in images of him showing up on my doorstep creepy). Lord Vaughn can stay right between the covers of The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, thank you very much– because I have a strong feeling that he wouldn’t make a gracious house guest.

But once she’d mentioned it, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. Kenya in the 1920s was overstocked with the offspring of ancient English noble houses, some of whom had lost their actual houses, others of whom were out for adventure. No self-respecting descendant of Lord Vaughn would be able to resist the Wanhoji Valley and its “Happy Valley Set”, with their recreational drug use, spouse swaps, and general devil may care attitude.

Yup. Lord Vaughn’s great-great-grandson is going to cause a certain amount of havoc among the unsuspecting characters in my Kenya book.

There’s only one problem. I’m having the hardest time coming up with a suitably rakish moniker for him. For some reason, he insists on being named Theophilius Vaughn– but one just can’t have a rake named Theo. It’s just not rakish.

Any suggestions for a suitably Vaughn-like 1920s nickname?


  1. Kari on October 25, 2011 at 9:51 am

    How about the name Alastair Vaughn? Alastair is a great name for a rake.

  2. Georgia on October 25, 2011 at 10:03 am

    How about Tilly or Tinker? A distant cousin whose name was Teophile (he was french) was known as Tock.

  3. Bekah on October 25, 2011 at 10:14 am

    I like Randolph! πŸ™‚

  4. Elissa on October 25, 2011 at 10:17 am

    How about Julius? It seems like something Lord Vaughn would name his children/grandchildren. You could make it his middle name.

  5. Robyn on October 25, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Ok here are my suggestions:

    Lawrence or

    Kari from comment number one has a good suggestion with Alastair.

  6. Robyn on October 25, 2011 at 10:41 am

    I’ve totally got it on this one!

    Hoyt Vaughn

    What do you think? ;D

  7. Jane F on October 25, 2011 at 10:48 am

    For some reason I’m finding Theo incredibly rakish at the moment…

    Perhaps pairing a name with Vaughn just does that for me.

  8. Ammy Belle on October 25, 2011 at 10:53 am

    I like Theo … I think the nick name Philius would be better. More uptight English rakehell … out to do goddness knows who in Kenya …

  9. jamie on October 25, 2011 at 11:00 am

    oo i like julius, elissa! he could be jules for short… or keep theophilius and call him teddy. it sounds so innocuous, which i’m sure will be to his advantage.

  10. Tricia on October 25, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Phil isn’t very rakish either, is it? But I know what you mean about things insisting on names that seem strange…sometimes you need to work with it. Maybe he can be a little stuffy (like his great-great-gramps) and insist on being called Theophilius, no nick names, if you please.

  11. Jessica S. on October 25, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Why can’t he be Sebastian after his great-great grand-daddy (yes, I know how Lord Vaughn would shudder to hear himself so described and I am enjoying it)? Also has shades of Sebastian Valmont, another quite famous rake…

  12. Christine on October 25, 2011 at 11:13 am

    I like Rhett or Tristan. No one on TV named Tristan is ever a nice guy. Funny, I was thinking Thelonious or Philoneous (though I think I completely made that one up in my head) then I saw all the Theo and Phil posts.

  13. Lauren on October 25, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Oooh, maybe Theophilis Valmont Vaughn, known as Val (to get that certain adrogeny of nomenclature that seems so the thing at the time).

    I’m also intrigued by the Julius/Jules idea.

  14. Emily on October 25, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Could a Theophilis go by the nick name Teddy. I can just see him getting the nickname Teddy as a cruel boarding school joke and that he just kept it. It lulls people into thinking he’s harmless, but he is anything but. I can hear him drawl, “Theophilis Vaughn, but my friends call me Teddy.”

  15. Tracie on October 25, 2011 at 11:54 am

    How about Everett? Sounds very posh and British and makes me think of the actor Rupert Everett, who played a lot of those laconic playboy types when he was young.

    Or how about Lonnie as a nickname for Alonzo or Lonsdale?

    P.S. Very excited to meet a descendant of Lord Vaughn’s!

  16. RMueller on October 25, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Hmm.. I saw Theophilius and I read Phil…can a rake be Phil or is that old dudes from NJ? Maybe he wants to be a rake but no one takes him seriously. So Maybe Philius? and our herione can call him Villianous Philius?

  17. JoAnn on October 25, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Like the idea of Teddy….so 1920’s. Just to toss another idea out, what about Vincent Vaughn?

  18. Ellen on October 25, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    How about Dominic? or Dominic Vidal Vaughn? with a nod to Georgette Heyer’s Cub!

  19. Michelle on October 25, 2011 at 1:13 pm


  20. melody burns on October 25, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I like Lord Theophilius Sebastian Vaughn. Two options could be, Seb or Theo with a hard T both are very 20’s English. Please no Phil, Vidal or Valmont. He could also be refered as Lord V.

  21. Loramir on October 25, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    I like Theo. The sort of nickname one would acquire at school (an exclusive upper-crust school, of course). Of course, my main acquaintance with that era is via Wodehouse and it seems like pretty much all of his rich, idle young men are named Oofy, Gussy, Barmy, Pongo, Bingo, Biffy, Tuppy, or similar – all of which do seem to be acquired at school and kept into adulthood. Theo is a bit more dignified but still has that sound, of an idle, somewhat immature young wastrel.

    Phil makes me think of either boring accountants or Anne of Green Gables friend Phillipa Gordon, who went by Phil.

  22. leslie on October 25, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Theophilius Sebastian Vaughn is good.
    His nickname could be Baz.

  23. Brenda P, on October 25, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Melody Burns we are on the same page. I believe his name should be Lord Theophilius Sebastian Vaughn. And go by Lord Vaughn. Of course, everyone will have heard of his great great grandfather and his reputation. Need say nothing more.

  24. Sheila on October 25, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Nicholas Sebastian Vaughn, as in Ol’ Nick, a nick off the block. etc.

    Lauren, are you implying we won’t see any more of Mary and Lord Vaughn in even a cameo role ?

  25. Cho on October 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    I am SO excited for this!

  26. SusanN on October 25, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Here are some popular names from the 20s.


    Agree with other poster(s) that this was an era when (goofy) nicknames were big. Some were nonsensical, like Tuggy or Fruity (remember Fruity Metcalfe, the great friend of Edward VIII?). Others would schoolboy nicknames. Alfred would be Freddy or Bertie, Gerald would be Gerry, Douglas would be Dougie, Archibald would be Archie, etc. All very tongue-in-cheek, “we’re in the same club” kind of thing. These kinds of names would be more realistic to the time period/social class than a typical romance hero-type name.

    But it all sounds like great fun, and I can’t wait!

  27. Lauren on October 25, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Sheila, I didn’t mean that at all! You know I never know who’s going to pop up in a story….

  28. Lauren on October 25, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Susan, you’re fabulous! I have a Dodo and a Bunny and a Bunty and a bunch of folks like that roaming around….

  29. SusanN on October 25, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    FYI–Of course I meant that Albert would be Bertie. Sigh.

    BTW, Fruity’s wife was Baba (short for Baba Sahib, since her father was Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India).

    The general premise sounds great and can’t wait to see what name you settle on.

  30. AngelB on October 25, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    I vote for a nickname for something that refers to his character more than his name. Theophilius means “Friend of God”…but my guess Theophilius isn’t very godly.

  31. Ellen on October 25, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    I’m sorry, but I just can’t see any scion of Lord Vaughn answering to Dodo or Bunny!

  32. Jessica C on October 25, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    LOVE the idea of calling him Theophilius and shortening it to Teddy – so innocuous, perfect for lulling people into a false sense of security!

    For some reason, I can also see him being called Algernon (yes, after the character in the Importance of Being Earnest).

  33. Sheila on October 26, 2011 at 3:03 am

    So glad to hear we haven’t seen the last of the lovably superior Vaughns…. I like all the names, but am still going for “Vaughn, Nick Vaughn”….could his hair fall over his forehead in a black comma? I don’t know if you’ve read Mark of the Lion yet, should now probably wait until your own book is done, but I am sure you will like Suzanne Arruda’s feisty Jade del Cameron. I am really excited about Ashford Park, altho I do hope there will be a more exciting name. Maybe another contest in a year or so ?

  34. jeffrey on October 26, 2011 at 4:42 am

    I suggest “Malcom.” It is suitably English and sounds just a bit menacing I think!

  35. Georgia on October 26, 2011 at 9:26 am

    I was just reading Dance to the Music of Time and there are several of those silly sounding British upper class names from the 20s and 30s in it, including a Teffy and Tippy. Either one might work.

  36. Kristen on October 26, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    I actually rather like Theophilius, although I’m intrigued by Julius too. Another option could be Victor? nn Vic/Vik. short, hard, syllable. somewhat threatening (or at least, intimidating)

  37. Erika on October 26, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Hugh, Theron, Lewis, Lucian, Preston, Sidney, Wesley, Percy, Rex.

  38. Stephanie on October 26, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    His name should TOTALLY be Theophilius but it should be his closely guarded secret that only the woman who eventually tames him (and his mother) should know. Everyone else should only know him as “Vaughn”

  39. Shenandoah Strojek on October 26, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Ian, and

    I think those could be suitably rakish.

  40. Am7 on October 27, 2011 at 3:00 am

    If Oscar Wilde I go with Dorian..
    @ Susan N no offense but those are baby names. names that people named their babies in the 1920s not names grown up people had in the 1920s. Unless he’s a baby those names are not for him…
    I like Sebastian named for his great-great-grandfather? why not great grandfather? Mary had better have a baby soon.
    I also like Dudley, Clark, maybe Nicholas, Regis, Arthur, Alec, Alan…
    As for nicknames I like the above suggestions for Old Nick Lucifer, etc. on the other hand not everyone has a nickname. Vaugh might work
    there are plenty of places you can look up historical names.. maybe you should do a little research πŸ™‚

  41. leslie on October 27, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    I am in total agreement with Stephanie!

    I looked back and found many delicious rakes named Theo in past romance novels. I like it, it’s a perfect nickname for the great great grandson of Vaughn and Mary.

    I’ve had so much fun reading this post!

  42. Cristina on October 28, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Isn’t the name usually spelled Theophilus? I find it most unrakish, how difficult to be up to no good with such a name.

  43. Jessica Mac on October 28, 2011 at 11:22 am

    So many good suggestions!
    Mmmmm…what about Devlin or Ambrose…

  44. AmyN on October 28, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    I don’t have any helpful comments since I swooned as soon as you mentioned “Lord Vaughn”~

  45. Lesley on October 30, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    I like the idea of him going by Trip as a nickname for Theophilius. I have no idea if it’s era-appropriate, but it has a snooty frat boy connotation that seems perfect for a Vaughn. Just my two cents!

  46. Kristen A. on November 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    So, I was looking at the Early Reviewers list of available ARCs for this month on LibraryThing, and apparently Cecilia Grant’s December release, A Lady Awakened, features a rake named Theophilius. So it can be done.

  47. Peter Alexander Vaughn on October 1, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I personally like Alastair Vaughn, but that’s only because Alastair is my middle name πŸ™‚

Leave a Comment