By Liah Penn
You probably think there is a science to naming characters. Well, there is. Sort of. Names are just as much a characteristic as the color of my character’s hair, or the way they walk.
My hero has to have the name of a hero: Jack, Blane, Hank, Jude. Single syllables. Hard consonants. The heroine must be appealing. When’s the last time you heard of a sultry heroine named Mildred? Or Agatha? Or Bessie? I give her a strong name with just enough uniqueness to show that she is special. Ada. Elizabeth. Grace. Maya. I look at the phone book or steal the name of a friend. In the case of my book “Pure Death”, I used the name of Ina as the name for the heroine. Ina is the name of a street in Tucson that is named after a pioneering woman. It is strong and unique. It seemed to fit my character perfectly.
Sometimes I name characters after friends or family members. My father, my son, my mother-in-law show up in my novels. A friend who has been supportive gets a role. If I can’t find a name among friends, I resort to the internet, or phone books, or a book propped up on my desk. A name on a spine. A publisher. A poster. Does it roll off the tongue? Is the name more suitable for a dog or a turtle or the five fish in your son’s aquarium? I don’t use it.
The villain can’t be Ashley or Bob. I give my readers something to chew on. Does it feel distasteful in my mouth? Damian. Vincent. Vlad. Somehow, without even knowing it, the reader has discovered the bad guy in my story.
Copyright by Laurie Pennison
Liah Penn is an author and attorney who resides with her husband and two sons just outside of New Orleans, LA. A former prosecutr, she has practiced law on an Indian reservation, on the Mexican border, and in a small Louisiana town. A former baseball coach, she is also an accomplished visual artist and potter. Although she lives in Louisiana, she is a die-hard Red Sox fan having watched many games from the bleacher seats at Fenway.
My email is email@example.com; I can be found on Twitter @liahpenn and Facebook under Liah Penn.
An Impure world, a perfect murder...
A murdered society debutante, her body sprinkled with 89 Costa Rican butterflies. A headless, gutted corpse washed up on shore with a beautiful, dead teenager. The case is anything but straightforward, and in an uncertain future, where resources are limited and the genetically defective are banished to a ghetto territory for Impures, Chief Detective Ina Stone and her partner, rookie detective Sam Fujimoto, must cross into Pure Territory to find a killer. An Impure herself, Ina must overcome her defect. And when her life is threatened, she must learn to rely on Sam, whose interest in her seems more than just professional.
Yet the Pures may have created a world in which even they don't want to live anymore. Resources have become too scarce to hide, and a black market for medicine comes to light. When a third murder is discovered, Ina and Sam know there's a connection. With too many suspects and not enough time, they must find that connection before the killer strikes again.
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