Friday, January 6, 2012

The Character of Names by David Farland

Today David Farland has stopped by the blog to discuss the character of names in his new book, Nightingale. 

With fantasy, I usually look strongly for resonance within the genre.  With NIGHTINGALE, though, I used a lot of modern names.

Bron Jones is my protagonist.--One of my wife's cousin's is named Bron Walker, and I've always thought that he was incredibly handsome.  So I stole his first name.  The name Jones sounded like something the state would tack onto a child who had been found abandoned at birth.

Melvina Stillman is the foster mom who kicks Bron out of his home.--A lot of Danish settlers moved to Southern Utah in the 1800s, and they had this habit of coming up with atrocious concoctions.  I knew that she was going to be a nasty person, so I didn't want to base Melvina on anyone that I knew.  I made up the name (which means "little girl Melvin."  I used it, but then a few days later read an article about a Melvina who lives nearby.  I used the name "Stillman," because dead men are still.  So I wanted to have a hint of death to her name.

Olivia Hernandez becomes Bron's new foster mother.  Olivia is a name that I always thought was pretty.  I have a neighbor, Bonnie Alduenda, with a gorgeous olive complexion.  So I based Olivia on Bonnie to some degree.

Adel Todesfall is a powerful henchman--Adel is a German name shortened from Adelhelm, which means "High guard."  In the manner of ancient names, it is more a designation of status than anything else.  The name Todesfall means "nightfall."  I developed the name after studying in a German dictionary.

Whitney becomes Bron's girlfriend.  I've always loved the name.  In fact, I had a friend named Whitney when I was young, and often thought that it would be a nice name for a daughter.

Galadriel Mercer is Bron's neighbor.  Her parents were big Tolkien fans.  I chose the name because I wanted her to be someone that you took a little pity on, right from the start.

Lucius Chenzhenko is my villain.  If you want to find out where he got his name, it will come out in the book!

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