Naming Characters

In a recent interview with bestselling author Jane Davis (pictured left) for her Virtual Book Club series, one of the questions was about how I choose names for characters and I mentioned checking out the popular names for the year the character was born.

For Death’s Silent Judgement I went to a website that gave Somali names as well. A friend also wanted to be a character in the book and he fit the bill for one of them but sadly hasn’t made it to book three. That’s the trouble with crime novels – characters die.

In the third Hannah Weybridge thriller to be published by Urbane Publications next year, I have some Asian characters and am name-checking with my Asian friends as well as websites.

Currently I am completing the first draft which is basically a wobbly skeleton of the novel but have got to the point when I can’t keep putting XX or a question mark for the name of a character. Even I am getting confused!

So today’s job is to go through the manuscript naming names. Some characters have made it through from Dancers in the Wind and Death’s Silent Judgement so their names are set in stone. Others I can think about what suits them, their culture and age.

The novel opens with the discovery of a body in Peckham Rye lake – the Pond – by two young boys and I had their names early on: Jace and Ollie. These two local boys from a nearby estate are up to no good and I loved writing their (possibly only) scene!

So now I am off to read through the manuscript to find all those XXs and question marks to insert some names and add them to the little blue book that I keep for name checks, physical characteristics, ages, roles …

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