I am a firm believer in the power of a name. After all, in order to perform an exorcism one must first know the power of the demon trapped inside. Yeah, that says a lot about my view on my writing–somewhere between possession and insanity lives a writer.
As you can imagine, I take great care in choosing characters names. They’re important. I once changed a character’s name in mid-book and he beat the tar out of someone as soon as I did.
It was amazing thing to behold.
When choosing my characters for Redaction, I deliberately picked very ordinary names because the story wasn’t about super people, but people in general.
Take Mavis Spanner for example. I love Mavis, heck, I like the name I chose. Mavis means song thrush. Birds herald the changing seasons and the day. And just like those birds, she sent out the call to everyone that something was coming, despite being told not to. What’s more, her last names, Spanner means she connects two things. She is the bridge between the world before and the one humans struggle to build in book 3. What’s more, the British have a saying “Spanner in the works” equivalent to “Wrench in the works”–meaning to mess up someone’s plans. And she does, actually, she messes up a lot of people’s plans.
David means beloved and Dawson means son of David. In other words, he’s David son of David. Redundancy is like a failsafe and provides security. Which he does in uniform, but in the way he looks after the men in his unit and people in general. He is also a small man fighting a giant of a system to do it.
Sunnie Wilson– Sunnie means bright and cheerful. And while she isn’t a ray of sunshine in the book, she is the bright spot in Mavis’s life and kept her going after the death of Mavis’s husband and son. Wilson means son of Wil (William being protection). I also chose Sunnie because it was light and frivilous in contrast to what was coming in the story.
Emmanuel Saldana–Emmanuel means God is with us, but he’s called Manny because he literarily represents every man. Because who among us is really prepared for the events in the story and wouldn’t be struggling to survive. Saldana, I stole from someone I used to know and is a place name.
Trent Powers–Trent went through many names changes in the story. Powers is obvious and is Trent’s goal in the story. The quest for it blinds him to everything happening around him and makes him uncaring about the suffering of others. Trent means gushing water. This is a twofer. Water destroys and shapes whatever it touches, but it also changes–adapting to fit any circumstance and situation–it is Trent’s greatest asset and allows exploit weaknesses and seem benign until the damage is done.
Audra Silvestre–Audra is a derivative of Audrey meaning noble strength. She begins book two holding onto values that are essentially good and virtuous. Unfortunately, they don’t mesh well with the new world. But the strength that is inside her helps to her adapt. Silvestre (from Silvester) means wood or forest, which are about to be destroyed by the coming Melt Down. But fire/destruction is also a natural part of a forests life cycle leading to greater biodiversity until the trees mature. Like Manny, she’s an everyone but no one special.
Even Papa Rose has a given name and yes, I know it. For the story, he got his name from the tattooes on his arm–one for each of the immediate family member he lost. His given name is Mike (from Michael–Who is like God?) Interestingly, his name is a question and in the story Papa Rose is questioning whether it’s worth it for him to continue to live. He thinks he knows the answer at the beginning. Papa Rose’s last name is Tahoma meaning water’s edge–symbolizing that line he walks in the story between wanting to live and wanting to die.
And while I don’t do this for all my characters, I’ve found that usually the names do reflect something about the characters in my stories–even those with bit parts.