One of my favorite parts of writing is coming up with names for the characters. I probably spend twice the time on those tasks as I do drafting the story. Thank God for the internet, which allows me to search hundreds of sites for name etymologies, foreign names, animal, goddess, and fish names—even airplane nicknames! I’m going to let you in on the secret meanings for some of my character names and one lucky reader will receive a pdf of her choice of one of the four books mentioned here.
Lapses of Memory, my May 10 release, is a story within a story, in which Sydney Bellek relates her own romance to her daughter Olivia. Every few years from the age of five Sydney meets her true love Elian Davies, but while he remembers her, she doesn’t recognize him. Only after surviving wars, revolutions, and years of separation does she realize they are meant to be, but this time it is Elian who has lost his memory of her. In the contemporary shell story, Olivia chronicles the ups and downs of her parents’ romance while simultaneously dealing with her own dilemma. She must choose between the rich and dashing Rémy de Beaumec, who wants to take her around the world, and the strong, silent, American-to-the-core, Benjamin Knox, who wants to make her happy. Since Sydney is half Turkish, I chose Bellek as her last name because it means “memory” in Turkish. Elian is Welsh for “a moment in time.” De Beaumec, the third wheel in Olivia’s triangle, means “hunk” in French. I loved that one.
In Triptych, my fourth romantic suspense, both Miranda Cabot and her sister Honor prefer their solitude to romance, Miranda having watched her husband die in flames on the Potomac River rocks known as the Three Sisters. Not so the youngest, Sybil, who invites a mysterious Frenchman calling himself the Chevalier du bon Arnaque to stay with them in their mansion overlooking the Sisters. The Chevalier claims to be a fine art dealer, but Miranda has her suspicions. It doesn’t help when she learns that “du bon Arnaque” is French slang for a charlatan—a scam artist!
In Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders, we meet Milo Everhart and her merry band of artists. Milo creates delicate needlepoint and her friend Tekla Spirikova creates large metal objects. Together they fight City Hall (literally), which wants to give their beloved Torpedo Factory Art Center away. Things get complicated when their greatest adversary turns out to be the man Milo loves, and even more complicated when too many murder victims turn up. Along the way she must deal with an assortment of bad guys, including one seedy fellow named Eustice von der Dieb. Her tiny, orange-haired artist friend Morgana laughs and explains that “dieb” means thief in German.
For my sixth book, Mai Tais and Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine, I had a blast choosing fish names for all the characters. There are twenty-three people in the novel who are named after fish. Of course, I didn’t want it to be too obvious, but so far no one’s remarked on the fact that the janitor is named John Dory and the dolphin trainer Dolly Varden, nor on Dugan Trevally, Noah Sculpin or Angus Pollock.
I suppose it doesn’t matter whether readers catch on or not—but they might find it amusing that the author spent hours poring over lists of fish species and ethnic names!
Leave a comment to win your choice of the books mentioned!
Contest ends 5/19/13 at 11:59 p.m. EDT
Here are links:
Lapses of Memory
Secret Cravings Publishing (May 10, 2013)
eBook, 70,000 words; Contemporary romance, M/F, 3 flames
Secret Cravings Publishing (November 2011)
eBook, 70,055 words, Print, 206 pp.
Contemporary romantic suspense, M/F, 3 flames
Amazon print: http://www.amazon.com/Triptych-M-S-Spencer/dp/1618851454
Artful Dodging: The Torpedo Factory Murders (an Old Town Romance)
Secret Cravings Publishing (April 2012)
eBook, 65,000 words, Print, 202 pp.
Contemporary romantic suspense/Murder mystery, M/F, 2 flames
Mai Tais & Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine (a Sarasota Romance)
Secret Cravings Publishing (January 2013)
eBook 64,848 words (208 pp)
Contemporary romantic suspense/ mystery, M/F, 2 flames
I’d love to hear from you, especially if you read the books and can find the meanings behind my characters’ names. There is always at least one!