Today I am thrilled to be joined by fellow Lyrical Press author L.K. Below, author of urban fantasy novella STALKING SHADE, as my quest for the perfect character naming process continues.
LK: My character names are often influenced by the theme of my story. In Stalking Shade, I spent a lot of time choosing Lori’s name. I wanted something simple but that fit her prickly goth exterior. Something like “Scissors” such as one of her friends, just didn’t fit. I wanted something accessible, that her parents might have named her, but at the same time something curt. “Lori” was just close enough to my given name of “Lindsay” that it was on my list of names that I wanted to use. Not to mention it fit Lori’s character completely.
The love interest, Terrence, I chose by chance. When I first started writing the book, I didn’t think he would play as big of a role as he ended up playing. So when I stuck him in the novel to annoy Lori, I didn’t take nearly as much time in choosing his name. But it stuck… and so did he.
The names which perhaps held the most meaning were the code names of those in The Order. For instance, Lori’s code name is Shade. It reflects her gothic nature, the mystery of the book, and plays a heavy role in the titles I chose for the trilogy. (Book 1: Stalking Shade, book 2: Out of the Shadows, coming April 2012, book 3: This Blackened Night, coming soon).
BREATHE: If you wrote in another genre, would it affect the names you picked for your characters? Why do you think this is?
LK: I do write in other genres, so I say absolutely. My choice of name depends on the character’s nationality or species, the time period during which they were born, and many other factors. For instance, in an Irish-themed contemporary romance, I chose Seamus as the name for my hero and because my heroine is from an Irish-settled part of New York City, I named her Kelsey. The names I choose have to fit my characters. I give them identities based on the names I choose.
BREATHE: What is your favorite character name—either your own or somebody else’s? Why do you like this name?
LK: My favorite character name happens to be the name of one of my first characters. Even though I’m still working on revising that particular book, I love the way the name rolls off the tongue. The Russian-flavored fantasy novel features a heroine by the name of Ekaterina Kataranovskia. It’s elegant and regal and fits her station perfectly… even if her nickname of Katya fits her brazen character a bit better.
BREATHE: Do you feel a character’s name affects the way you write him or her?
LK: Absolutely. As the character forms in my head, I come to associate him or her with that name. I will never be able to name another character Lori. Because when I think of Lori I think of the prickly goth I’ve taken along the journey in The Order trilogy. The name and the character are now inseparable to me.
BREATHE: Are there any names you absolutely will not use for a character?
LK: I try not to use names of people I know. Of course, this is not absolute. In one particular book, the sister of the main character has my sister’s name, Samantha. But the name fit her. She refused to take another. Somehow, I’ve learned to separate that Sam from my Sam. But it took a little while to wrap my mind around it.
Excerpt from STALKING SHADE by L.K. Below:
“See?” the bartender was telling the taller man. “If you want a night with Lori, it won’t be tonight. Wait and try some other time.”
“What if I’m interested in more than a night?”
Lori nearly spewed her coffee on a couple walking past. She would need to keep an eye out for this guy. He gave a whole new meaning to persistence, and he hadn’t even approached her yet. She could only hope to scare him off by giving him the cold shoulder once he did.
Luckily, Ritchie came to her rescue. “Then you’re definitely outta luck, my man. I’ve known Lori for four years and she’s never had anything longer than a one night stand. She doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon.”
“I like a challenge.”
Lori resisted the urge to bang her head against the counter. She needed to evacuate. Now. DEFCON One.
She smacked her cup on the counter as Scissors muttered to Ritchie, “Does this guy have a death wish?” Presumably he was already en route to intercept her.
Lori fumbled with her change, starting to sort out what she owed. Changing her mind, she left the cash on the counter and shoved the bus pass into her pocket.
“Leaving so soon?” A deep, masculine voice. She recognized it with an inner groan.
She turned slowly, thinking to nip this in the bud. He stood an inch or two taller than she did in her heeled boots, which made him at least six-four. His hair was black, cut short, and he had the most brilliant blue eyes she had ever seen. His easy smile proudly displayed a set of fangs. She narrowed her eyes. A faux-vampire.