My critique/writing partner Joan blogged recently about naming characters for her next manuscript. How if you name a character Caitlin, she’ll be a different personality than if you had chosen to name her Martha. I agree wholeheartedly.
One of my favorite names of a book character is Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird. Not that I was tempted to name my child that, (maybe if I were Demi Moore) but it’s a great name for a character.
In my manuscript, Mary Kyle was an easy choice for my main character’s best friend. Because the story takes place in a small Alabama town, she had to have a name that fit that part of our country. When I lived in Decatur, Alabama, I met several women named Mary who had masculine middle names, sometimes their fathers’. For example, across the street from me lived Mary Stuart Rowe and Mary Allen Barthel. I also met a Mary Frances and a Mary Scott. I’m pretty sure a Mary Kyle lived in Decatur, but I think she was a small child when I was there. The name came to me very easily, so I’m sure I heard it somewhere.
My name is certainly dated. I’m sure if you look at the most popular baby names of the past 20 years, you won’t see Pamela anywhere. Although 40-45 years ago it was fairly common. As was Julie, Kelly, Lisa, etc. Recently I read in Austin Family magazine some names of kids in area preschools: Boys—Beckham, Casper, Dason, Enzo, Finnian, Mix, and Tal; Girls: Azra, Conleigh, Harper, Koral, Mirabelle, Pepper, and Wren. (Need I say Austin prides itself on being off-beat?)
When it came to naming our children, we picked Jacob in honor of my great-grandfather, and Benjamin’s middle name, Wilson, is my mother’s maiden name. Ben was named for Ben Hogan and Ben Crenshaw—great golfers. (Maybe we should have nicknamed him Tiger?) Mia is actually Amelia Marie, a version of my sister’s name, Amy Marie. Ben chose Mia, but we wanted her to have some options in case she decides later that Mia sounds too youthful. “Introducing, your honor, Judge Amelia Hammonds” sounds better to me if she wants to be taken seriously. On the other hand, should she become a pro soccer player, Mia will work just fine.
How about you? How did you get your name or what process was involved in naming your children? Please share your stories….Sonya especially has a great one about how she and her sisters were named. I’ll let her share it if she will.