Naming My Characters

Sarah Thomas (1)

There I am with the Thurmond, WV, depot behind me. Walking the same ground as Colman, Serepta, and my other characters.

One of my great joys in writing is naming my characters. I don’t have children and my brothers didn’t let me name any of my nieces or nephews so I’m left with naming my characters. Which is fine. There are more of them!

I particularly enjoyed naming the characters in When Silence Sings.

First, I needed the names of my two rival clans. I’ll confess I went a little obvious here since one of the most famous feuds was between the Hatfields and McCoys. So, I went with the Harpes and the McLeans. Some good Scots-Irish names that echo the originals.

Now, on to my main characters. Since my hero is a Jonah figure I did a little research and discovered that Jonah means “Dove.” Guess what Colman means in Irish? “Dove.” And in English it refers to someone who works with coal. Double winner!

Serepta is a name I stumbled across doing genealogical research for my family in French Creek, West Virginia. And I really liked it! Ironically, the name means, “peaceful,” which Serepta is NOT. But I like that contrast. Maybe she will be one day.

Jonah’s love interest is Ivy Gordon. Now, if you’re familiar with the story of Jonah you’ll know that once Jonah <reluctantly> finished his preaching in Ninevah he went outside the city and sulked under a vine. The Hebrew translation suggests that it was a gourd vine. So there you go–Ivy Gordon. Seemed like a better name than Kudzu.

Most of the other names were ones that simply seemed right to me. And I threw in a few actual names of historical figures from Thurmond, WV. Check out my author’s note at the end of the book if you’d like the story on those!

So how about you? What would you like to name the hero or heroine of your novel?

 

 

Categories: Appalachian, Writing

2 Comments »

  1. You do have the best names! My husband actually helped me polish up names for my middle read historical fiction novel by dubbing them Bobs, Davey, and Tom.

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