Writers are often asked things like, “How’d you name your characters?” and “Where’d you come up with that idea?” When I’m asked, my answer is often along the lines of, “I don’t know. The characters simply told me, and that’s how it is.” Which is usually the case. On the other hand, sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes I get to choose, and I like to make choices that amuse me. Just for fun, I thought I’d share a bit of ‘behind the scenes’ trivia on my second novel. The first installment is on the most-asked-about topic:
Main characters reveal themselves to me already named. For better or worse, I don’t get to choose those. I might finagle them, but often it’s just best to leave well enough alone, as evidenced by my struggle with Miranda, the heroine of More Than You Know.
- The surname Adama was chosen by my husband while he was on a Battlestar Galactica binge. In book 1 (If You But Knew), Mark Adama was meant to be a minor character. But then book 2 began to form, and I was stuck with it. Luckily, it’s a cool name.
- Miranda gave me fits. I knew who she was: Miranda Rogers, Mark’s recently-divorced younger sister. But because of that maiden surname, I really really wanted to rename her. Why couldn’t she be Stephanie or Christine–Miranda Adama is a tongue twister! Alas, nothing else seemed right. But a nickname stuck in my ear, and Mimi Adama seemed a perfect solution. However, her ‘married’ last name didn’t quite fit . (Does Mimi Rogers sound familiar? Think Hollywood and Tom Cruise.) My Mimi reverted to Miranda for the 15 years post-wedding, though once back in her hometown, most people start calling her Mimi again, despite her insistence on Miranda.
- Robert is another character who was named in my first book, and it’s all his fault that we have a book 2 to begin with (thank you, Robbie). I fell in love with him, and he needed to find his HEA. Although it isn’t much mentioned, his last name is Campbell. Robert’s parents reveled in their Celtic heritage, and saddled him with quite a mouthful: Robert Jameson Buchanan Campbell. Sounds like a laird of some craggy bit of the highlands, doesn’t he? Robbie Campbell is so much easier. And doesn’t Robbie sound like a rollicking fun sort of guy? I only wish I’d gotten to see him in a kilt…
The minor characters are where I get to have some fun, or where I’ll ask others for ideas and input. I may not tell someone they’re naming a character, but that’s the fun part! (Beware if I ask you a seemingly random question–the information might end up in a book!)
- “Friend”-ly Cameos: EA Kim is named for an actual EA that works with my Hubs. Todd is the middle name of a friend who wanted to be a baddie in one of my books. Russell, Warren, and the chicken video lady (who goes unnamed) are nods to a few of my writing group buddies.
- Miranda and Amy love a certain best-selling novelist, and I had to come up with a fictional author. Luckily, I had one up my sleeve. When I first began writing, I chose a pen-name, intending to use it instead of my given name. Fast-forward a year, and I was too giddy about my work not to share it under my own name, and the pen name went by the wayside. But then I needed an author, so Gillian McGregor stepped up to the plate. 🙂
- Stacy… fully inspired by the songs 1985 and Stacy’s Mom (yeah, she should rightly have not been named Stacy, but it’s such a great name!)
- Ben and Harold: I didn’t get to name them. They introduced themselves to me, monikers already in place. But I thoroughly adored them, and wish I’d gotten to spend more time loving on these boys. Perhaps in another book…one never knows!
Did I miss anyone whom you’re curious about? I’m happy to answer other questions. (I love talking about my books and characters!)
Haven’t read More Than You Know yet? Links are on the Books Page (see bar above) for the format of your choice.