I've gotten that question a lot, so I figured I should formally answer it.
Here I was, thinking I'd found some super clever name to define my trilogy. Little did I remember the completely unintended connotation of the word.
First, let's start with the dictionary definition of the word "whitewash."
Without being too spoiler-y, I'll just say the definition I'm intending falls into one of those three. (Okay, fine, my book is about woodwork. Now you know.)
Next, I'd like to address an alternate meaning of whitewash, the definition people of today's political climate might conjure first. Urban dictionary says as follows:
"A derogatory term used to describe a minority who has assimilated with western society. The 'White washed' person does not necessarily abandon his/her own culture but rather embrace others beside his/her own. Some people take it as a compliment while others take it as an insult."
Merriam-Webster has more to say:
"More and more people are using 'whitewashing' to describe the practice of casting white actors as non-white characters.
This new sense of whitewashing refers to casting white actors as characters who are non-white or of indeterminate race, as in the casting of Fiennes as Jackson. It can also refer to preferring white actors, directors, cinematographers, and so on, over equally qualified people of color, as in the Oscar nominations."
After reading those definitions, I can understand why readers are a bit wary when they see the title of my trilogy. Let me wholeheartedly reassure you: my books are in no way promoting Urban dictionary's or Merriam-Webster's definitions. When I chose the title Whitewashed, I was thinking only of the technical, non-colloquial meaning of the word.
Initially, this trilogy was meant to be called Anamnesis, but that title was already taken. I searched for another word that fit the overarching theme of the trilogy. Whitewashed was pretty spot on (again, according to the technical definition). When you reach Book II, The Integer, all becomes clear. And that's all I'll say on that!
So, there you have it. My trilogy is called Whitewashed because Ella is a carpenter on a quest for a lush lime tree which will give her all the properties of a magician. It's really all very straightforward. No reading between the lines there. Or should I say, reading between the limes...? Okay, I'm done.
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