What’s in a Name?

Since Husband in Hiding was first released, several readers have asked how I came up with the fairly unusual names featured in the story.  In a nutshell, my mom has always been attracted to unique names, so I suppose I inherited those tastes, as well.  Thus, deciding on one that suits me can sometimes stump me more than most other aspects of my writing.

The majority of my characters are named on the fly, and I make good use of baby name websites, needless to say!  Occasionally, I give a shout-out to a friend, but I try not to get too carried away with that.  Once in a while, I’m even inspired by street addresses, such as in the case of the Desoto brothers and Neil Elmway, with one friend of mine living on Desoto Lane and another on Elm Street at the time I was working on the book.  There are a few, however, that have a bit more of a story behind them.

Cael was actually the first name that occurred to me of all of them.  I hadn’t even begun writing the first draft when I was falling asleep to the eleven o’clock news and heard about a little boy who was missing, named Cael.  Despite the framework of the story hardly aligning yet, I was immediately struck with the kind of character he would be.  Thankfully, the child was found in real life, and unbeknownst to anyone else, I found the beginning strand of my story-line.

Minka followed months later, as the plot was taking shape in my mind.  From my childhood on, my mom affectionately called me “Minks”—short for mischievous—, and given that I was going to base her personality somewhat on mine, it seemed rather appropriate that we share the nickname.  Plus, actress Minka Kelley’s career was also on the rise, so it came together pretty naturally.

By far, I put the most thought into the name of Minka and Wes’s neighbor, Camille Paleta.  To capture the essence of her nosiness, I wanted to dig a little deeper when it came to her surname.  Wes privately calls her ‘”Scoop” because of her love of gossip, so on that line of reasoning, I looked up the word in different languages, which led me to the Romanian term “Paleta”.  I debated including the factoid in the story, but ultimately chose to keep it my secret.  Now, though, the scoop’s out!

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