Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Fun behind Character Names

My mom is reading Water Waltz and is having a hard time with many of the names. She's asked me where I got the names from so I figured I’d write it down for my readers as well. (Charlie Cochet blog has a post about naming her characters and I suggest reading that as well. Just don’t compare mine to hers—she’s got the blogging thing down to a smashing success.)

Varun is a water demon so I wanted a water name. I admit I wasn’t too unique with the names of my element demons. I went to my favorite site when looking up names by meanings or words in the description: thinkbabynames. The name Varun is Hindi in origin and means “water god” so I felt it appropriate. Varun has a bit of a god complex...a small one but it’s there. Varun is pronounced vah-run.  (Va-rune is acceptable too, mom.)

Triste is the leading angel in the story. For angels I decided to use French words as names even though it’s a bit odd for them to name their kids French words since some of the angel class also speak French. (It’s equivalent to naming your child Apple, I suppose.) Triste means sad in French. He’s a bit sad in Water Waltz so his name fits the mood.

Side note: Varun has a driver named Amer. In French, Amer means "bitter" and his mate is Sucre which means "sweet." See what I did there? Oh, I try to be clever.

Varun’s rival is a wind element demon named Zephyr, and yes, his name means wind. It’s also a name I particularly like to say. Zeph-fur. It’s just fun. The Greek god of the west wind is Zephyrus and in western tradition, zephyr is a favorable wind from the west. (I think it brings summer...don't hold me to that.) Varun would disagree that this demon is favorable, but Zephyr doesn’t see Varun as a god so they’re even.

Fremont is everyone’s favorite devil in Water Waltz. (Okay, the only devil in Water Waltz) His name has no special meaning to the character and I didn’t pick it based on the name’s meaning. I picked the name from Fremont Street in Las Vegas. The history of Vegas fascinates me and I like the word Fremont. Is the character special to Vegas? No. I think he could fit in and make it big in the glamorous days of old Las Vegas but that's unrelated to the Water Waltz world.

Side note: Fremont’s close friend, Fitzgerald, in Fire Tango is named after a favorite author of mine, but on a 2011 trip to Las Vegas I found the Fitzgerald’s Casino (recently renamed to "The D") on Fremont Street across from the Fremont Casino. Coincidence or my mind connecting knowledge subconsciously...there’s no way to tell. 

Varun’s student’s name, Nolyn, means “champion”—which is what I wanted Nolyn to strive for since he’s a bit of a butt-head. He gets better before the end of Water Waltz and is still heading in the right direction in Fire Tango (book 2).

Leandre is a fire demon but yet his name has nothing to do with fire. (what!) It’s Greek and means “lion man” which is perfect for his lion-heart. He shows little concern when facing down possible death—that’s just not his style. He’s also exceptionally brave in Fire Tango despite the possibility of losing his lover.


Well, that’s the boys from Water Waltz. Next week I’ll post something about those damn country and city names. (I couldn’t have picked harder names, now could I?) The use of capital cities and countries had most readers confused so I’ll explain what city goes to what country and how I keep it straight in my pea-brain (other than with notes). 
Thanks for reading! 
You can purchase Water Waltz from all the usual sites: Dreamspinner Press store, Amazon, Barnes and Noble...etc


  1. Hi Hayley

    I just had to place a comment on this one - last night I was sitting with a name book and writing down a looooong list from a to z of my favorite names (not very original I know!) At this stage I write mostly contemporary so haven't had the need for very fancy and unique names yet, but I must say sometimes a name just doesn't fit and then you'll see another and it just explodes in your head like "Yeah, he's not a (old name) he is definitely a (new name)! Got that right now where I've finished a story and am on the point of submitting and I don't like one characters name anymore - it just doesn't fit his personality. Ahhhh! You know what I mean???

    1. Yes! I've totally had that happen before!!
      Once I changed a character's name DURING editing with my editor lol. It just didn't fit anymore in my head but another name did so...bam. Done deal.

      I hope the character adjusts to the new name and you can submit that manuscript as a happy author! :D

      Thanks for the comment~

  2. Interestingly, I had no trouble at all with any of the above names. I wonder what the difficulty with them is?

    1. I don't have trouble with them either. But my mom...well, I love her.
      There are other names she had problems with but those are side characters and not much to say about them. (Barish is one she still asks about and he was only in the first chapter. But also not a name I stumble over...)

      btw, hi there. :3


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