Coming up with character names is one of the best parts of writing a book in my opinion. I put so much thought into the names that thinking back, it seems ridiculous and like a waste of time and energy. But that's not the case. I find that questions about the character names arise when readers notice the oddity of the name or feel like there is a meaning behind my reason for choosing a certain name. It so happens that Notice Me, my latest book, is filled with names that are 'interesting.'
Let's start with the main character, Anders. Anders' name was very easy to come up with because I had spoken with a stranger and he said his name was Anderson, but he pronounced it as Ander - son (like son, daughter). It stuck. I didn't want a long name for my main character and I wanted a name with no particular meaning behind it because he was going to have a complex-no-ethnicity-in particular-background. I randomly called him Anders and deleted the last two letters.
Now, his parents' names took a lot of thinking on my part. The Quigleys. You think they're English, right? Feng Quigley is Anders' father's name. What do you think now? Exactly. I have mixed ethnicity with his name but my description of him makes him even more colorful and there's a reason for that.Feng is an Asian name and I was leaning toward the Chinese meaning. Quigley is “very British” like it has been described to me. Yes, I picked that for origin and sound-sake. Feng Quigley, put together, gives a light and heavy feel. Feng, like the wind, is light and smooth. Quigley, added to it, makes it seem heavy, but Anders’ father, a slightly big man, is formed around his name. He is a baker after all.
Everest Quigley is Anders' mother's name. I wanted a name for a slim, regular, but larger-than-life woman. It seemed perfect to me when I thought of the mountain.
These names were created to add to the ambiguity of the characters' ethnicity because that is not my main focus in the book. But you can tell that the Quigley household embraces multiculturalism. My aim is to make the reader input wherever they want Anders to be from and whatever country they think he moved to. I made it vague on purpose and I think you'll enjoy it immensely.
This name game didn't end with the main character and his family. Here are the others. The band members - Trance, Twine, and Alphonso. I discovered that Trance was actually a real name for boys, but I named him this just because you'll see in the book how his behavior makes people react. No, he doesn't put people in a trance. The reason for the name, Twine, doesn't have to do with strength so much as it has to do with the appearance of the character. His muscly self can tie down the attention of swooning fans. Alphonso, a popular name in real life, was chosen for origin sake. I wanted to add a different flavor to the band members and this Italian/ Spanish name was my best choice.
The girls - Reva and Mabel-Agatha (don't laugh at the second name because it does grow on you). The meaning of Reva in Latin is to regain strength and there's another meaning in Hindu. But I chose this name for the Hebrew meaning, "to tie." Mabel means "lovable" and Agatha means "good." Now, do you understand why I said, "don't laugh?" The names together may sound ridiculous, but their meanings make them awesome!
That's it for the name-game from my book, Notice Me. Feel free to ask me questions about how I came up with other names you discover in the book.