|My name was invented by Jonathan Swift|
This argument, however, made me stop and think. Am I guilty of this as a writer? I spend ages trying to work out the best name and fit it to my character. I use photographs and ask lots of questions of them - their background, where they live, what they do etc etc. I create a whole character biog. Therefore, am I creating these stereotypes that she is using? Am I as bad as her...oh I hope not.
I have been known to spend days trawling through baby name books, looking on the internet and reading other books searching for the right character name. Why? Because a name can tell you so much but it also can tell you nothing if you want it to that is. In my WIP, Trafficking, I have two characters one called Saba and her mother is called Belqis. Both names give a clue as to where they might have come from. But also I know that Belqis means Queen of Saba. My readers will never know that but it meant a lot to me to use the name. The other two names of my main characters are Amina and Ben. Amina gives a slight hint to her heritage and Ben, is pretty nondescript. No offense meant if you are called Ben. I had an English Setter called Ben who was lovely and very elegant; my sons have numerous friends called Ben and they are lovely, so is that where the name came from? Who knows.. It is a name that doesn't say anything and that was deliberate. Maybe I should call him Tyler (see interview)...
If I said the name Harry to you I imagine you would come back with the name of a certain wizard. If I even said Bella or Edward, if you are of a certain age, the same vampirish images might appear in your head. This isn't new. Books, films, TV programmes, stage plays can all potentially have an impact on a name as can celebrities. Making it popular or equally ensuring it looses its popularity because a vile character has been allocated it. I haven't met many Voldemorts I must be honest.
As I said this interview has made me stop and think. I will consider even more carefully what names I am going to use and what characteristics they are going to have. I don't want to do anything that might add fuel to this woman's unreasonable biases.
How do you pick the names for your characters?
And here is an appropriate song: Barry Gibb and Michael Jackson singing 'All in your name.'