I answered a question on Goodreads a few months ago, and I figured I’d share it here as well for those of you who don’t use Goodreads. The question was: How do you decide the names of your characters?
I love names, and I've always been intrigued by meanings behind names, as well as their origins. It's fun to learn how parents name their children—do they blindly pick a name out of a book? Is there a family name that just gets passed on? Do they name their kid after a person? A place? A specific event? A feeling? My mom said she was going to name us Elizabeth, Rebecca, and Robert. We ended up being Emily, Ruby, and Ryan. Ha! I forget how she got to “Emily” and “Ruby”, but apparently the doctor who delivered my brother had “Ryan” in his name. Talk about a last minute decision!
It's also funny how you can meet someone, and in your head you go, "yeah, you look like a Thomas." Or maybe they actually go by "Tommy," and you can totally see how that person is absolutely a Tommy and definitely not a Thomas. I'm babbling, but I think you know what I mean!
When I pick character names, I think of several different things. Where is this person from? In Uniting the Heavens, several members of the Tiede family are mentioned: Vir, Ren, Lis, Lars, and Hraf. In Tiede, one syllable names are signs of strength, power. Most Tiedans in general won't have long first names. In the Gerrit family, for example, we have the parents Derrin and Trea, and their children Bret, Lana, Gryf, and Dane (and Aren, of course).
I also take into consideration family traditions. In the House of Rose, we have Lord Rose Gaithus. His brother (whom you haven't met yet) is Rose Glen. Gaithus named his daughter, Geyle. Nothin' but a G thing, baby. (I'm totally amusing myself.)
Spoiler alert: Rose Glen shows up in Book 2. (Haha, I know that’s not really a spoiler…)
There are cultural differences to consider as well. These cultural influences came into play when naming Priestesses Teyna and Nianni (both from the Kailen Islands), as well as the Lords of Kaishar and Tennar: Letengel and Syncros, respectively (both have not yet been introduced).
Spoiler alert: Lord Kaishar Letengel may or may not show up in Book 2.
The Houses of Tiede, Illithe, Tennar, Trum, Kaishar, Thell, Rose, and Li'aji all have their own cultures and traditions just like our world does. I just try to make sure that I immerse myself in that culture so I can accurately name my characters, and I "look" at that character in my head and study then from every angle. "Yeah, you definitely look like an Aren."
I can’t wait for you all to find out more about Aren!
In other news, I have short videos coming soon! The first series of videos is going to deal with how to pronounce the words in Uniting the Heavens. Can’t wait to share it with you! Until next time!