Thank you for joining me for this month’s ‘writerly rambling’ post. As I am working hard on my degree, I have called upon my author colleagues to tell us all how they came up with their character names and titles. Here’s Deborah J Miles and her women’s crime fiction novel Orchard View: (Which is on a FREE Kindle download 22nd-24th PDT October 2019.
I ‘accidentally’ wrote my novel while I was taking an online writing course through FutureLearn. A friend and I were doing the course together, really for something to occupy us while she was recovering from surgery. During one of the exercises in the course, the whole story just came to me. I kept it in my head and typed out chapter after chapter.
Bill Maynard was my first character. The name just seemed right for the character. I needed something short and to the point as a first name, hence ‘Bill’, and somehow ‘Maynard’ followed. It occurred to me after I’d finished writing that ‘Maynard’ is a surname which appears on my family tree, and ‘Bill Maynard’ was also the name of an actor.
My second character was the house itself, Orchard View. House names often refer to their location or history, such as Sea View, Hilltop, The Old Rectory, and The Old School House. The house was so named because it once overlooked an orchard.
My next character, Etta Franklin, was created by borrowing the name of a lovely lady I knew as a child. I loved the sound of the name ‘Etta’ which I realised must have been the shortened form of Henrietta. Etta needed to have standing, so ‘Henrietta’ was a suitable name, but she also needed to be likeable, and ‘Etta’, to my mind, is a much friendlier name. I used the phone book to choose her surname. I opened it at random, and pointed to a line on the open page, which as it turned out, contained the surname ‘Franklin’.
Norma Parker is the street busybody or Nosy Parker. I thought it apt that she should be called ‘Parker’. Her first name, ‘Norma’, was the name of an acquaintance from many moons ago who had some of the attributes I wanted for my character. Her nosy ways have her labelled as the ‘Neighbourhood Witch’.
As the story developed, and I added new characters, I found that if I could imagine the character, their size, stature, traits and personality, then a name would occur to me. I suppose I am drawing on memories I have tucked away about people I have known in one capacity or another, such as from family history research, celebrities, friends etc… There was only one I changed; Maeve became Mae because I felt Maeve didn’t convey the softness I was looking for in this character. Mae seems to be a favourite with my readers too.
Wow! What an insight! I read Orchard View (women’s crime fiction) earlier this year and loved it, I smiled today when I was reminded of Bill Maynard and Etta. (This is me again, Samantha chipping in) Here are the links so that you can get yourself a copy:
She has worked in banking, tourism, education and social services, and has hosted international students for over 30 years.
Her interests include: genealogy, self-improvement, home computing, web design, D.I.Y/gardening, pen friends and writing.
Deborah is independently published and created the imprint Against the Flow Press for her first novel, Orchard View.
Think I put Deborah’s blog on twice… make sure you don’t miss it!
Thank you so much Deborah J Miles! Join me next month when we find out about Ahava Trivedi’s YA Fantasy character names.
Happy reading, Samantha xx