Ever wonder how authors come up with names for their characters? I’m not sure if they are unique or not, but I’ve used several methods. For example, surname lists on the internet for foreign characters can be very helpful to pick that perfect name to match the character’s persona. First name lists, organized by which name was the most popular in whatever year your character was born, is another helpful way to locate that correct name and spelling. Probably weren’t that many Gertrude’s born in 1975. Nor were many Heathers or Brittanys born in 1776.
Sometimes, I just look to the shelf. Often, names of authors or names used within some of those books can be useful. I found the perfect name for a Russian scientist in a book about Vladimir Putin. Name mining, I call it. Makes it very real.
However, my favorite way has been to pull a page out of Thomas Kinkade’s “book,” so to speak. Many of you may already know this, but when Kinkade painted, he would embed the initials of his wife, or her name, into his paintings. It became a sort of trademark. People would obsess with trying to find that “N” for Nanette. It’s been reported that he put 156 “N’s” in his Golden Gate Bridge painting.
As you read my first book, The Serpent’s Grasp, you find some important names, to me, that is. Since I dedicated the book to my wife, I felt using her name in the story would be melodramatic, so, instead, you’ll find the married names of my two oldest daughters. They are introduced in the order in which they got married: middle daughter’s married name appears first, then my oldest daughter’s married name appears later. They’re not major characters. But that’s just it. I needed names for some role players…and this method was just kind of born out of necessity. (And no, I’m not going to tell you what they are…that’s part of the fun. I’m sure the information will come out eventually when I do my Entertainment Tonight interview…a guy’s got to dream, right?)
In my second book, 30 Days Hath Revenge (A Blake Meyer Thriller – Book 1), you’ll find I utilized my namesake grandson, but I used it in a bit of a more creative way by making his first name the last name of the character. When he gets older (he’s five), I’ll show him, explain it all, and it will be something we two can cherish together.
In the manuscript of Book 2 to the Blake Meyer Series, you’ll find my granddaughter’s first and middle name used, again, in a creative way. And in the manuscript for Book 3, you’ll find my oldest and youngest grandsons’ names. With one, I used just his first name because it’s a little unique. The other, I used his first and middle name in the same fashion as the granddaughter. I plan to use my third oldest grandson in Book 4, and eventually use my daughter’s first names in the remainder of the series, if they work out. If not, they pop up eventually.
The point is this: You need names, so why not use ones that have meaning? It’ll make for a great coffee table discussion when the fan club’s book group tries to figure out where the “N’s” are. But more importantly, it uses the people you love, within the craft you love, with the everlasting power of the written word, to create a legacy you all can treasure.
A Clandestine Mission.
A Cryptic Message.
A Chaste Promise.
Blake Meyer dreamed of a peaceful end to a dutiful career with the FBI. Married now, his life was taking him in a new direction—a desk job. He would be an analyst. Ride it out until retirement. Be safe so he could enjoy his grandchildren some day.
But when a notable member of the IRA is murdered in a London flat, Blake’s secretive past propels him into the middle of a vindictive, international scheme so hellish and horrific, it will take everything Blake possesses—all of it—to save the United States from the most diabolical terrorist attack to date.
C. KEVIN THOMPSON is an ordained minister with a B.A. In Bible (Houghton College, Houghton, NY), an M.A. in Christian Studies (Wesley Biblical Seminary, Jackson, MS), and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership (National-Louis University, Wheeling, IL). He presently works as an assistant principal in a middle school. He also has several years experience as an administrator at the high school level.
A former Language Arts teacher, Kevin decided to put his money where his mouth was and write, fiction mostly. Now, years later, Kevin is a member of the Christian Authors Network (CAN), American Christian Fictions Writers (ACFW), and Word Weavers International. He is the Chapter President of Word Weavers-Lake County (FL), and his published works include two award-winning novels, The Serpent’s Grasp (Winner of the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award for First Fiction) and 30 Days Hath Revenge - A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1, as well as articles in The Wesleyan Advocate, The Preacher, Vista, The Des Moines Register and The Ocala Star-Banner.
Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, and Criminal Minds, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, too.
Kevin’s Writer’s Blog: www.ckevinthompson.blogspot.com
Kevin’s Educational Blog: www.thehelpfuleducator.blogspot.com
Facebook: C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page
Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson