Today’s Wednesday Writers guest is Erin R. Howard, author of the urban fantasy series The Kalila Chronicles. Erin will be talking about names and their importance to your book characters. She also sharing an excerpt from book 2 of the series, The Soul Searcher. Welcome, Erin.
With my first two children, it wasn’t hard to decide on their names. We both agreed on the names before we even went in to find out whether we were having a boy or a girl. When we got pregnant with our third child, my husband and I couldn’t agree on a girl’s name. We had the boy’s name ready, but nothing seemed to feel right for a girl’s name. The ones that did, we already knew little girls with that name. I remember feeling out of sorts the day of the ultrasound because if we were having a girl, we had no clue what to name her. At the ultrasound, we were told that the baby was a boy, and somehow deep down, maybe I knew, and that’s why I couldn’t settle on a girl name.
When I got serious about writing and began plotting my book, I didn’t think naming my characters would be harder than it was to name my children. But it was! Every name that I liked was either a name from another book that I loved, someone we knew, or it wasn’t the right fit for the character’s personality. I would sit and stare at the blank page, then switch to searching through baby name websites. My husband suggested that I put any name in for the moment and change it later, but that didn’t work for me. I had to have the perfect name.
If you’re not familiar with urban fantasy, it has all the elements of fantasy, but instead of a fictional world, it’s set in our world. In my debut novel, The Seer, I have three main characters. Viktor, Matthias, and Thea. Viktor is a demon, and his mission is to destroy Thea, who is the last of the seers’ bloodline.
I love old fashioned names and ones that are spelled differently. Since Viktor is a demon and tasked with the job of destroying Thea, I wanted to find a name that had that type of theme. When I saw that Viktor means, “conqueror” I switched the “c” to “k,” and now I can’t imagine his name being anything else.
There are a few more hidden meanings scattered throughout the series. The Kalila, an ancient society that trains humans who have supernatural gifts, means “my beloved” and Bethesda, the sanctuary city they are trying to escape to, means “house of mercy.”
In the second book of the series, The Soul Searcher, one of the new main characters name is Elnora. She is named after my Nanny, who passed away while I was writing the first book. She even has my Nanny’s red hair and sometimes fiery temper. I know that she would have been excited to see that I have a character named after her.
What is one book that you’ve read and loved the name of the character? Or what about one that you didn’t like? Did it stop you from finishing the story? Tell me in the comment section, I would love to know!
The Soul Searcher
by Erin R. Howard
Elnora’s parents gave her one rule:
Stay hidden away at all costs.
Elnora Scott is used to her survival depending on the decisions of others. Locked away in her safe house, it is easy to follow her parents’ dying wishes until an angel, demon, and seer show up on her doorstep. Now, waking up in a dirty cell, she wishes she would have gone with them when she had the chance, because the very ones who unknowingly ushered the kidnapper to her location may be the only ones who can save her.
When Thea learns that Elnora may be in danger, she doesn’t hesitate to go find her. Thea thought stepping through the portal would be her greatest obstacle, but it only reveals a more sinister threat.
Excerpt from The Soul Searcher:
“A red blinking light from the safe room door caught her attention as she placed her toothbrush in the holder and left the bathroom. Purple, silk pajamas slipped through her fingers and landed at her feet. The smooth fabric tickled her toes as she tried to get her legs to cooperate and move towards the door, but she couldn’t move.
This was not a drill.
Someone was in her house.
She was such a fool. She shouldn’t have let hope come in and take root, because it came in and caught her with her guard down. This hope turned her whole world upside down. Forcing her feet to move this time, she took a step closer to the door, hoping it was an accident, that Markus made a mistake and triggered the alarm without meaning to. This hope kept her taking another step, and another, even though her heart knew what her mind didn’t want to accept yet. Markus didn’t make those kinds of mistakes. The silent, blinking red light taunted her, beckoned her to come to the door and see for herself. To come and see if this was all a mistake.” -Elnora,
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About the Author:
Erin R. Howard is a developmental editor, fantasy author of The Kalila Chronicles, and has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University. When she’s not writing, Erin enjoys spending time with her family, fueling her craft addictions, and teaching writing workshops. Erin is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the KenTen Writers Group. She resides in Western Kentucky with her husband and three children.