Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Remember When . . . We Sought a Name?

Last week my editor emailed me to say, "Don't scream, but we need a description for Book 3 of your Culper Ring series. Nothing that will be set in stone, just for planning purposes. I know it's really early, but can you get that to us in the next month?"

Well, as it happens, I had Book 3 tentatively planned out before I had Book 2. ;-) And now that I've nailed it down a little more, I've turned to giving some thought to names. As always, I need help! LOL.

So here's my hero. My original thought was Shade, which is, believe it or not, a perfectly normal name for a guy during the Civil War era (when the book takes place). But I got a lot of comments on Facebook about how people would question that, sooo... I'm considering other possibilities, and I would love more input.

Colin Farrell is pretty close to how I'm envisioning this guy
First, a little about this guy. He's a tough dude. Where my first hero in the Culper Series is socially awkward and best known for his intelligence, where the second hero is a people person in the extreme with an innate ability to know what people most need, this third hero is going to be my brooder. He'll be able to put on an affable face--which he'll have to do a lot--in company, but he's a man haunted by all that went wrong in life. A twin, he was always the bad brother. The one in trouble, the mean one. The one that superstitious folk would have dubbed "the evil twin" in previous generations. But right around the time the South starts succeeding, he comes to the Lord and turns his life around. Joins the Pinkertons as a tribute to the man who mentored him (yeah, just totally pulled that part out of my hat this very moment), and makes his family proud. His brother, however, infuriates them by claiming the South had every reason to do what they had done. Always at odds, these two are now outright hostile...which eventually, toward the end of the war, culminates in the "good" brother trying to assume our hero's personality and join a secret Southern society, the Knights of the Golden Circle. (Brother thinks that the bad boy persona of his twin will better suit his purposes...and he hopes that if there's any fallout, it lands squarely on hero's shoulder.)
What he'd be wearing

Long story short, the brother ends up dead somehow or another before the book starts, and the hero, as part of a Pinkerton investigation, picks up where bro left off with the KGC. Which means he's assuming his brother's assumed identity--his own name. (Confusing enough? LOL. And that's all the backstory, the stuff we'll learn in chapter 1!) Now to figure out what that name should be. I want something a little hard, with a bit of a bite to it. Hence why I liked that long "a" and hard "d" in Shade. But other options:

Helmsey
Simeon
Slade
Slader
Matthias
Derius
Solomon
Josiah
Marsellus

(All those are pulled from 1860 Maryland Census records, so no fears of accuracy) From that list, I think my favorite is Slade, which obviously has a similar sound to my original name, but is an old old English surname that could logically be given to a son whose mother had been a Slade.

Preferences? Other suggestions?

21 comments:

  1. I kind of liked Shade, but Slade also works.

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    1. Shade's just a cool name, isn't it? But I don't want people questioning my research, and I did get a lot of comments on how it sounds modern. (Everything old is new again...) Thanks, Carissa!

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  2. Slade is not bad. Derius is a neat one, too. It has a strong sound.

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    1. I do really like any derivation of Darius. Only problem with that one is that I have another novel planned with a "Darius" hero, and that one has symbolic significance, so I can't change it. But then, it's a "someday" novel, so...LOL.

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    1. I think it could work really well. =) Thanks, Jolanthe!

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  4. I have to say I like the name Slade, too. I think it's perfect for the hero's description you provided! :)

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  5. Yeah. Slade. I think it's even broodier than Shade. :)

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    1. LOL. You'll get a line in the acknowledgements for pointing me to it. ;-) Assuming I remember that between now and a year from now when I need to write said acknowledgements, LOL. So long as you haven't already claimed it for a historical hero!

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  7. Slade would work well. It makes me curious to know what the twin's name would be. They could be Slade and Shade! How were twins named then? With similar names or very separate names. I do hope the book comes out soon!
    Madelyn

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    1. I know! Haven't figured out the brother's name yet. Hero will come first. =) I think the brother will be named after their father (making it all the worse for said father when good bro goes bad), and hero after mother's family.

      And this one will be out March 2014. So still a ways to go. Which is good, because I haven't finished book 2 yet, much less started on 3, LOL.

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  8. Another thing with Shade is, will it be associated with "Fifty Shades of Gray" ?

    Slade stood out the most to me in the list. slader makes me think of Saved by the Bell!

    Not Mathias, it doesn't sound strong.

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  9. Ah, Saved by the Bell. LOL--I grew up on that. Good point. And I *was* (inserting tongue in cheek) going to recommend "50 Shades of Blue and Gray" as a title. Ha. Ha ha. Soooo joking.

    I think Slade is winning the day here. =)

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  10. First of all - the first thing that came to my mind was "Colin" - not sure what you think - but sharing anyway. (and yeah, I know that's the actor in your pic, since you said so LOL). Of the ones you'e put, I like Slade best.

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  11. I like Slade a lot. When I first heard "Shade" and "Slade," my reaction was, "That is nice but not my favorite." But the more I think about it, the more I like it. I really like both Slade and Shade a lot. I think I like Slade better. I also like Derious and Josiah. What about Joel or Jedidiah? Maybe not, but just a suggestion.

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  12. what about Cade? I do like Slade.

    karenk

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    1. I looked that one up last week and couldn't find reference to it in my time period. Not to say it's not there, LOL, but I couldn't verify it. =) Love the name though!

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  13. Shade is definitely my favorite! I certainly wouldn't question it in a book of the civil war era...

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