What’s In a Name?

Before we get to Julie’s post, I just want to ask your help. As you may or may not know, I have a very awesome project going on where I and other bloggers sponsor prizes to award to people as a way to pay forward. January was amazing, and I’d like to repeat it, but only two sponsors have stepped forward. So please, if there’s anything you think you can give (crits, betas, e-copies of books are all welcomed) that you think someone will enjoy/appreciate, please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com with “Paying Forward” as the subject. Thanks in advance!

And now, without further ado, here’s Julie. 

What’s In a Name? 

I think the opportunity to name our characters is one of the most enjoyable things about being a writer. While I think this part of the process is fun, I also sometimes agonize over it, as getting just the right name seems so important.

One of the resources I love to use when searching for names is the Behind the Name site. I have kind of a strange interest in the meaning and history of names, so I was familiar with this site long before I started writing my own characters. But once I started writing novels this site became invaluable.

On Behind the Name, names are divided by usage, and visitors to the site can find names from various countries around the world as well as biblical names, mythological names, and names from ancient history.

The antagonist in Polar Night is from Russia, so when I set about giving him a name I headed straight for the Russian categories on the website. It didn’t take me long to find just the name I wanted. Aleksei, which is one of the Russian forms of the Greek name Alexis, jumped out at me. I’m not sure why, but I knew it was perfect for my character. And Aleksei Nechayev was born.

But not all names require an internet search. One of the minor characters in Polar Night is named Nate Clancy. If you’re familiar with my blog you probably know that I am a huge animal lover, as I’ve shared that often in the past. I have a cat named Nate and a dog named Clancy. So I couldn’t resist giving one of my characters this name and, even though he plays a minor role, he is one of my favorite creations.

If you’re a writer, how do you go about naming your characters? Have you ever named a character after someone or something in your own life?

Thank you, Misha for having me as your guest today!

Book Blurb: 

When Detective Danny Fitzpatrick leaves his hometown of Chicago and moves to Fairbanks, Alaska he wants nothing more than to escape the violence and heartbreak that left his life in pieces. Numbed by alcohol and the frozen temperatures of an Alaskan winter, Danny is content with a dead-end job investigating Fairbanks’ cold cases. That all changes when a pretty blond woman goes missing on the winter solstice, and Danny stumbles upon some surprising connections between her disappearance and that of another Fairbanks woman three years earlier. Forced out of his lethargy, Danny sets out to both find the missing woman and solve his own cold case. 
The investigation points Danny towards Aleksei Nechayev, the handsome and charming proprietor of an old asylum turned haunted tourist attraction in the Arctic town of Coldfoot. As he tries to find a link between Nechayev and his case, Danny’s instinct tells him that Nechayev is much more than what he seems. 
Danny has no idea that Nechayev is hiding a secret that is much more horrifying than anything he could ever have imagined. As his obsession with finding the missing women grows, Danny finds his own life in danger. And when the truth is finally revealed, the world as he knows it will never be the same. 


Julie Flanders is a librarian and a freelance writer who has written for both online and print publications. She is an avid animal lover and shares her home in Cincinnati, Ohio with her dog and cat. Her debut novel Polar Night, a suspense thriller with a supernatural twist, is now available from Ink Smith Publishing. Find Julie online at her blog, and on Twitter.