There’s more to Lori Cooper than meets the eye…Onomastician (collector of names), house name enthusiast, music tragic, ex-prison guard, blogger, amateur photographer, lyricist and mum of twins… All this and she says she can’t cook a cake to save her life!
Lori Cooper is the author of:
75,000+ Baby Names (Hachette) and 10,000 House names (Lothian).
Her current projects include:
Name your house or property: A creative reworking of 10,000 House Names (published by Lothian 2006-now out of print but selling for an extraordinary $749 on amazon.com). It is written for people looking for a property name or house name. ‘It’s very informative, there is only one other house name book that I am aware of and just lists names. My book delves more deeply for the reader, giving meanings of the names too and in some cases, even histories or famous places with that name.
105,000+ Baby Names: Also a reworking of 75,000+ Baby Names for the 21st Century. It has information on names, celebrity baby names and more multicultural baby names than ever! It also has the greatest array of unique spellings for names without excluding the very loved traditional baby names.
Beautiful Baby Names: When only the best baby name will do! A book for the more traditional baby name lovers. It features names like James, Annabelle, Olivia, Isabella, Thomas and Jack. Why do this? Baby name lists around the world reflect the popularity of the traditional baby name. ‘For many year now, names such as Jack and Isabella have been at the top of baby name lists from all over the world.’ Says Lori.
Oh Mum, you are soooooo Embarrassing! This is Lori’s first attempt at writing a children’s book. ‘It’s about a mum with twins who does silly things like fall asleep in the spaghetti or she falls asleep while doing the washing up. Why is she sooooo embarrassing to her twins? Find out why at the end of the book.’
Everything Else is Just Noise: This is Lori’s first attempt at novel writing. The novel is about the music industry and a rock band trying to make it. ‘I haven’t strayed from the standard formula of sex, drugs & rock ‘n’ roll…if I did, there’d be no point to writing a book on the music industry! This book is somewhere for my music obsessions to manifest. It’s going to be dripping with sex, drama and music. It’s nothing serious, not a work of literature, it’s just some fun.’
Lori is a fan of Bruce Springsteen, Cold Chisel, Neil Finn and the Foo Fighters to name but a few. She also dabbles in lyric writing. ‘At the moment, I am writing songs for the fictional band in my novel. I am probably the only person on the planet to ever say that sentence!” She laughs. ‘I like amazing songwriters, I can’t think of a better way of spending 4 minutes of my life! I love music!’
So what is the fascination with names? ‘I first became interested in names in my teens while perusing through a baby name book. When I looked up my name it said ‘Lori, see Laura’. I thought it pretty rude that the author didn’t either bother to write a meaning, even if it was the same as Laura (or so she thought). It got me thinking about all the other baby names in the world that never even rated a mention. With all the unusual and multicultural names in the world, I saw a niche market for this book. Australia, UK, New Zealand, Canada and America are becoming increasingly multicultural so I thought it would be a good selling point for my baby name book to set it apart from all the others on the shelves.’
Baby names and babies
Being a mum of twins, how did Lori find her baby names? ‘I think we all have baby names we collect over our lifetimes, names we love, I am no exception. We threw some names about to family and friends and found they were shot down pretty quickly. A lot of the names we liked, family and friends didn’t. The usual excuse was something along the lines of ‘I know an X and she’s a bitch’ or’ I went to school with an X and I heard he’s in prison now’. Another name I loved, my friends stole. A lot of name stealing goes on. I advise people to keep their precious names to themselves. ‘
‘There was a lot of pressure to pick good baby names. Our list included: Boys: Sonny, Thomas, Jack, Harrison and Jesse. Girls: Sophie, Olivia, Arabella, Brielle and Isabella. In the end, Sonny was named after his grandfather or so his dad believes, don’t tell my husband I named Sonny after Don Johnson’s character Sonny Crochet from the 1980-1990’sTV show Miami Vice! Sophie is a name everyone loves it is feminine and sophisticated, that’s why it is so popular on the baby name popularity charts.’
So what did Lori Cooper do before she became obsessed with names and music and became a mother of twins?
Lori was a prison guard in a men’s medium security prison and a detention officer in the notorious Woomera Detention Centre (S.A.) and Curtin Detention Centre (W.A.). ‘No one walked away from that place unscathed…no detainees or workers.’ Lori describes her time in the Australian desert as ‘horrendous, soul destroying and something that will haunt me for the rest of my life. I’ve seen the worst of people and the best of people whilst working in that hell hole. It has left scars on everyone who worked there.’ Lori is also forthright about suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome from working there. ‘It took many years to put the pieces back together and go back to living a near-normal life. I am very lucky, many of my colleagues still suffer from PTSS a decade on.’ She says. ‘I am also lucky to be able to write, it’s a much safer profession.’
Lori lives between Bathurst and the Blue Mountains in NSW Australia. Her heritage is Australian/Native American that she describes as ‘a rare bloodline’. She is married to Jason and they have twins, Sonny and Sophie.
What’s next for Lori?
‘My children have just started school so that has freed up some time to get stuck into writing my first novel. I have also just discovered Twitter (LoriHowarth1) and have established my own blog www.nameyourhouseorproperty.wordpress.com and loricooperbabynames.wordpress.com I will continue to work on these projects for now.’
And why is she such a bad cake baker? ‘Ask me to cook anything savoury and I am fine, even good at it. Ask me to cook a cake and it is ALWAYS a disaster. They either collapse, are under cooked or burnt, too moist or too dry and the cupcakes always spill out over the edge of the patty cake papers. Don’t ever give me food colouring either! Cakes turn out looking so fluorescent you’d be too scared to eat it.’ She laughs. ‘And these are packet pre-mixes and I still manage to stuff them up! My poor, ‘deprived of decent cake’ children! Thank God for the bakeries or their birthdays would be traumatic!’