After I released my anthology, The Supernatural Reasons Why I Love You, I featured a blog post that described the different inspirations for several of the short stories. I'd like to continue that explanation today, by exploring the names and titles I've used in my works so far.
The title for The Heart of Everything was actually the name of an album by Within Temptation. When I discovered their music (which I love; it reminds me of Nightwish, one of my favorite groups), the phrase itself just struck me. The Heart of Everything – wasn’t that exactly what this book meant to me, after a decade of dreaming? Then came the sequel. Remember the piano piece “Heart & Soul”? I realized that’s exactly what Jesse and Alex were: heart and soul. Since Jesse had the “heart” already, that meant Alex’s story needed “soul” in the title, and so “Beyond the Soul” was the result.
And it’s not just the names of the books themselves that have special meaning. Those who read my blog post on Juliet Marillier may recall that is where I found Emer’s name. The priestess (whose actual name is used only one time in the entire story arc, I might add) got her name from a tweaking of my own. Clarity really did get her name from a song: “Clarity” by Zedd (featuring Foxes). And the boys, too: Jesse’s last name, Djevelen, means “devil” in Norwegian. Alex’s surname, Naktis, is Lithuanian for “of the night.” (The idea is that they would have chosen those names themselves – family names weren’t common until more like 1300-1400 AD, long after the start of their stories – so I tried to picked names based on the culture/ region they each would have been raised in.)
It wasn’t just the names of my characters that had influential sources. Jesse (both his looks and his name) were based on a particular member of the boy band Dreamstreet that I had a crush on when I was about 12. “Jesse” went from being a singer to being my imaginary boyfriend (yes, I had one of those growing up – don’t judge) to playing the starring role in my first book. Alex, of course, had to be the equal-yet-opposite force to Jesse, but I can also say he’s my version of Edward from the Twilight novels. Also, Emer and the priestess had “inspirations” – namely, myself XD. Emer is the version of myself when I was in college/ fresh out of college (insecure, not very confident, bad at making decisions). The priestess is the best version of myself, the version I’ve striving to become – she’s kind and patient at all the times when I am NOT those things. Even Clarity, the girl Alex gets (spoiler alert!) comes from me – she’s more like I am now, after having gained some real-world experience and self-confidence.
Great names have to come from somewhere. They can be invented from thin air, certainly, but as the first part of a story or character that the reader encounters, I feel the name has to mean something special. I especially want it to be meaningful to me, as I craft an entire tale around it. I’m sure I’ll have more to share down the road about the names and titles of future books!
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Until the next time, keep reading!
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I have two passions: reading and writing. You can't write good stories without first reading good stories - that's my theory, anyway. So this is where I'll share with you the depth of those passions: background on what and why I write, as well as talking about the books that I read and how they impact my writing.