I think one of the hardest processes for a writer is naming the characters. It’s a time-consuming quandary fraught with indecision, and it’s not unlike picking a name for your own child – you want it to be the perfect fit. Once you come up with what you think is a winner, you then have to consult your mental rolodex of every book you’ve ever read to see if there are similarities. With myriad books already out there, the reality is that there is going to be overlap somewhere, and you have to come to terms with that sad fact. It’s a bummer, but they can’t all have crazy, invented names just to avoid this conundrum, unless of course you’re writing in a genre that lends itself to doing just that. Too bad for me, I’m not.
With that being said, here’s the breakdown of your favorite peeps from CAGED:
Ruby came easily to me in a dream, so she was all set.
Sean, too, was easy enough, and so the foundation was laid, but that’s where the easy stopped.
Veronica, aka Ronnie, was trickier because I wanted something with two extremes: a name very soft and feminine, and one that couldn’t be more the opposite. Veronica is where I landed.
Eric was a random pick that just ended up sticking over time.
Marcus was one I struggled with because I had seen it in another novel series I’d read within the genre, but I just couldn’t seem to see him any other way – so Marcus stayed.
Peyta was an ode to the baby that I was pregnant with at the time that I started writing CAGED. My husband and I were convinced it was a girl and Peyta was going to be her name. When Peyta came out with very male genitalia, she quickly became Rhys, but I liked the name so much that I put it in the novel instead. It was later brought to my attention that it was a lot like the name “Peeta” from The Hunger Games. It is similar, but in my defense, I hadn’t heard of or read that series when I wrote CAGED, and frankly, I didn’t care once I did because they’re two completely different characters and genders. Peyta made the cut.
Sophie…ah, Sophie. To be blunt, I wanted a name that sounded like it belonged to an uppity, snobby, holier-than-though bitch with a predilection for slutty outfits. Sophie fit the bill nicely (sorry to any fans with that name…I’m sure you’re lovely).
Cooper was named in a roundabout way after my uncle, Warren Cooper Remple, who in ways inspired his character. I’m sorry he never got a chance to read about him. He passed away from cancer a couple of years before I got serious about things and published my work.
Names are so personal and need to accurately reflect something about the character they’re tied to. Hopefully, I’ve done an adequate job of doing that very thing. If not…sorry. There are many more characters still to come. Perhaps you’ll better approve of some of them.