Yesterday morning, I got an email from my mother. She’s been compiling all the comments from beta readers for Chasing Nonconformity (you rock, mama!), and during this activity she came to the realization that I have yet to name a character after her.
This arose as a result of my naming one of the characters in the sequel “Akaeli”, which was inspired by my roommate Kaleigh. I have a habit of calling her name in a sing-song voice when she walks through the front door, and have grown very fond of her name as a result. Hence, I borrowed her name, alienized it, and stuck it in Chasing Nonconformity. I would like to note that the character wasn’t based on her in any way, shape, or form — her name just inspired the character’s name.
Which brings me back to my mother, who put forward the question: Why have I named a major character after my roommate, but none after my own mother/editor/manager/life-giver?
The basic reason I gave her is that I haven’t named a character after her because I don’t name characters after people. Sure, I’ll honor my friends by throwing in their name as like a school name (Barlow Collegiate Institute!) or a kind of pudding or something, but I don’t do that with characters. Characters get names that fit them, that work with the story and the setting and the culture. If one of my friends’ names gets twisted around into a major character, it’s not because I felt a pressing need to insert them in the story, or because I have chosen to honor them above all others — it’s because I enjoy the way their name sounds, and think it goes well with the character.
Mother accepted my reasoning, as she is an eminently reasonable woman, and the topic was put to rest. So, all’s well that ends well.
What about you guys? Have you named characters/buildings/stuff in your books after friends? And if so (or if not!), what have your friends said in response?
Unrelated link of the day:
Funny article about romance hero tropes: Things I’ve Learned About Heterosexual Female Desire From Decades Of Reading
I did it a lot with early stories. Then the friends started putting their input into the character creation and I stopped. Occasionally, I put someone into the book as a background character for one reason or another. Not a big fan of it though.