Jade Buchanan asks … What’s in a name?

Posted on July 3, 2012 by


I happen to think names are pretty important. Mine, for instance, is long and complicated, but I love it. When I think about the fairly common names my siblings got stuck with I start counting my lucky stars.

But what about authors, who are naming more than just a child or two … who instead have to name and populate an entire universe? I imagine some standard favorites come into play, but after that, it’s anyone’s guess.

Here is Jade Buchanan to talk about some of her choices and the fun she’s had along the way.

I discovered the other day that I haven’t been paying too much attention to the names of my secondary characters. Up until this point it really hasn’t been too much trouble, but I realized I’d written myself into an interesting name-box lately. Broken Silence, the second novel in the Broken Trilogy that is due out in August, features Rich Matheson. He was a secondary character in my novel Broken Rules, and now it’s his turn in the spotlight. I’m in love with Rich, and considering his friends all call him Big Dick, I’m sure you can guess what kind of fun I’ve had writing him.

When I went to see what book was next on my list, I discovered Mick Madison, the hero of the next Wolf Nuts tale, and a secondary character in Nut Cream.

Even more fun, I found out that the next Wolf Creek hero, from Hedgehog’s Delight, is none other than Rick Black, who shows up as a secondary character in Black Wolf and Duck Fart.

Rich, Mick, Rick… Do you think I was in a particular mood when I wrote those original books? Oops.

At least it’s served as a humorous discovery for me, and I’m in the process of working on a database for secondary characters. But, it did get me thinking about names. Some authors put an incredible amount of effort into discovering the names of their main characters. Drake, from Duck Fart, is literally named after a male duck. And Bailey’s name comes from the fact that the title, Duck Fart, is actually a drink that features Bailey’s, Kahlua and Canadian Whisky.

My quirked sense of humor also shows up in the Northern Bear stories. The three main characters are called Christopher, Robin and Teddy… What? I was in a Winnie the Poo mood when I wrote the first book ;)

Marshall and Bayard from the Horsfall series both have horse-themed names. In medieval French poetry Bayard was a bay horse. The word marshal originally derives from Germanic words meaning “horse” and “servant”. Even their last name, Stoddard, is the Old English occupational name for a horse keeper. Fitting for a pair of shapeshifting Shire horses.

All of my Felidae characters have very specific names that I spent weeks researching. Asad, from The Felidae 2: Asad’s Mate, means “lion” in Arabic. Durai, the leader of my second pride featured in Pridelands 1: Darren’s Surprise, has a name that means “leader” in Tamil. Pran, from Pridelands 5: Khalid’s Challenge, means “breath” in Sanskrit. I could go on, but suffice to say that I spent a long time picking out the right names for my alien catmen.

I think my favorite is a name that ended up on the cutting room floor, though. When I first pitched Bound to Please to my editor I wanted my two heroes to have names that had distinctly Irish origins. They’re old Celtic vampires, after all. Only, my first choice for the oldest hero was immediately turned down. I suppose Feardorcha (meaning “dark man”) didn’t have the right erotic edge to it, so Dougal (“dark stranger”) was born instead.

As you can probably guess, most of my characters have a specific name for a specific reason. Unless they’ve started out as a background character and have demanded a tale of their own. Hence, Rich, Rick and Mick were born!

I better get working on that character name database…

My question for all of you, for a chance to win an ebook from my backlist (winner’s choice), is whether you pay attention to names when you see them in books. Do you ever search for their meaning? How much of an impact does a character’s name have on your enjoyment of the story?

Thanks for letting me play!

About Jade:

Jade’s writing is as eclectic as her reading tastes, with over thirty erotic romance tales currently published. She’s been known to accept writing challenges from friends and family just to see their reactions and Jade is also a firm believer that love and romance are universal concepts, no matter a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation.

Originally from Northern Ontario, she’s lived in British Columbia and the Sultanate of Oman in the Middle East. Jade currently lives in Calgary, Alberta where she’s hard at work on her next story.

Jade loves to hear from readers! You can find her on her website at http://www.jadebuchananbooks.com

Email: jade.buchanan@yahoo.com
Twitter: @jadebuchanan
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jade.buchanan1
Livejournal: http://jadebuchanan.livejournal.com/

Jade is offering up a digital copy from her backlist. To enter, comment below in regards to Jade’s questions stated above. Open until Friday, July 6th at 11:59 pm (PST)

Jade has added a print copy of Broken Silence to our GRL Reading Challenge Grand Prize. Remember to post your list for your chance to enter.