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Saturday, September 7, 2019

Naming Characters and a List of My Characters

Today I'm trawling baby naming sites to come with a new character name. I've accumulated quite a number of characters in my 10-book series, so any time I add in a new character (or decide to change an existing character's name) it becomes a bit of a drama to find something that isn't too similar to a name I've used before.

I keep a list of every named character, along with a brief description, if given (I tend not to over-describe them), and when they were first introduced. Currently the list has grown to over 300 names. Many of these are obviously minor characters or even off-hand references to people who never appear on-screen, but I've tried nevertheless to keep the names distinct.

When adding a new character, the first thing I do (unless I already have a name in mind) is work out the birth year and look up the most popular names for that year. There are many sites that give this information (using census data for the US). For example, here's babycenter's list for 2000, giving the top 200 girls' and boys' names. This is useful for walk-on characters when I don't want a particularly memorable name, or when the background of the character suggests the parents would've picked a popular or conventional name.

If the character has a non-Anglo background, there are plenty of lists giving name suggestions online. Other resources:

It pays to be cautious about trendy names, though. Some are too new to be relevant to adult characters.

Recently I counted up how many names I'd used starting with each letter, and compared this to a list of the most common initials, to see which initials I'd overused and underused. I discovered I had too many S, C, R and T names, and not enough A, J, E, K, I and O names. It gets a little more complicated, though, because I have several major characters with J names (Jesse, Joy, Jenny), so I definitely don't need more. Whereas I only have one "major" S and R character in recent books, so I could choose S or R for my new character.

Anyway, I still haven't found a name for the new character, but for the record here are all the names I've used so far from books 1 to 6 only, with (I hope) non-spoilery descriptions. The dates/books given are when they are first mentioned by name, not when they first appear on the page.

Character
Description
First mentioned
Book
Aaron
Keira’s little brother, good at cyberstalking
Feb 2013
2
Agustina
W’s physics group project partner
Apr 2014
4
Aiden
Wynter’s foster brother in Olympia
Aug 2013
3
Alexis
10th grade English class, finds Light article
Apr 2014
4
Alice
Jesse’s gf from Milwaukee 
Jul 2014
5
Alonzo
Mateo’s 7yo son
Jul 2013
2
Althea (Amy)
teacher at ashram
Mar 2014
3
Alyssa Palermo 
Katrina’s oldest daughter
Nov 2014
6
Amanda Whittington
beach party 2009 w Caleb
Mar 2014
4
Andrew
bass guitarist for Chestnut Dreams
Nov 2014
6
Anita Green
high school counselor
Mar 2014
4
Anke
German backpacker
Mar 2014
3
Antonio Toscano
security firm owner
Mar 2014
4
Ariana
Mateo’s 8yo daughter
Jul 2013
2
Arlo
recording studio receptionist in London
Jul 2014
5
Arthur Yu
drummer for Clockwork Toys
Mar 2013
2
Barry, Mr
W’s 8th grade science teacher
May 2013
2
Beatrice / Bea Hayes
Caleb’s gf
Jan 2013
1
Beck Clifton
drummer for Crunch
Apr 2014
4
Ben
vocalist for Wages & Gifts
Aug 2013
2
Ben Trimmer
FBI Special Agent
Dec 2014
6
Bethany Brighton
Mackenzie’s mom at Disney party
Sep 2014
6
Bill (William) Brown
Ellie, Patricia & Katrina’s father, ran diner
Sep 2014
5
Blatt, Dr
ENT specialist
Sep 2014
5
Bob
sound guy for Calhuun
Jul 2014
5
Bonnie
vocalist for Indio’s funk blues band
Aug 2014
5
Brian
Wynter’s foster father in Olympia
Aug 2013
3
Brice
works at mini golf
Apr 2014
4
Caleb Henry Fairn
Wynter’s oldest brother
Jan 2013
1
Calhuun
Tim & Stephen’s EDM band
Jun 2014
4
Calliope
email sender
Nov 2014
6
Castiglioni, Mrs
elderly weed dealer
Sep 2013
3
Cathy Driscoll, Ms
music teacher in junior high
Jan 2013
1
Celeste
receptionist at AZ retreat
Apr 2014
4
Charity Thorne
singer and preacher’s daughter from Texas
Jul 2013
2
Charlie Bryant
journalist writing about the Light
Feb 2014
3
Charmaine
Harry’s fiancée
Feb 2013
1
Chloe
Caleb’s gf before Bea
Aug 2014
5
Chris
boy shopping for drums with dad
Aug 2014
5
Chrissie Salinger
17yo who kissed 14yo Jesse
Mar 2013
2
Christina
Lydia and Rebecca’s friend at party
Apr 2014
4
Claire
Indio’s UK gf
May 2014
4
Clarice
chicken
Dec 2014
6
Cody
Jesse’s friend, anniversary party
Aug 2014
5
Colin
sound guy at Only Tony’s gig
Nov 2014
6
Corey
Roman’s “friend” in Eugene
Feb 2013
1
Curtis
mini golf owner
Apr 2014
2
Daisy Palermo
Katrina’s youngest daughter
Nov 2014
6
Danny / Dan
drug dealer in Beacon Hill
Sep 2013
3
Dante
Mateo’s 2yo son
Jul 2013
2
Darlene
Curtis’s wife
Apr 2014
4
Debra
Wynter’s foster mother in Olympia
Aug 2013
3
Deedee
Wynter’s teddy
Mar 2013
2
Delilah
Jesse’s gf, dumped over ethics issue
Nov 2013
3
Diamond
Jessica’s friend
Nov 2014
6
Diane
Beck’s gf
Apr 2014
4
Dickie
druggie from Bonnie’s band
Sep 2014
5
Dimiti Dime
Indio’s comic strip
Jan 2013
1
Donald
Doris’s husband
Apr 2013
2
Doris
elderly woman at retirement home
Apr 2013
2
Dusk
Jesse’s hippie gf
Oct 2014
6
Dwayne Orion
media mogul in Seattle
Nov 2014
6
Eduardo / Eddie
drummer for Blunderbelly
Apr 2013
2
Edwina
chicken
Dec 2014
6
Effie Gavras
Jesse’s girl from laser tag
Apr 2014
4
Eleanor
pink-haired trigger-happy groupie
Feb 2013
2
Eliza
keyboardist for Mail Order Chicks
Jul 2014
5
Ember Morant
Xay’s mother
Jan 2013
1
Emilia
10th grade English class, finds Light article
Apr 2014
4
Emmanuelle Heathcote-Brown (Ellie)
Patricia & Katrina’s sister
Sep 2014
5
Eric
Marcus’s brother, W’s first bf
Apr 2014
4
Esmeralda Grey
Indio’s girlfriend at age 8, with goldfish
Sep 2013
3
Ethan Burke
bass player for Clockwork Toys
Mar 2013
2
Eve Whittington
beach party in 2009
Mar 2014
4
Evita
student who sells Jesse brownies
Apr 2013
2
Felicity
online “friend” with PI uncle
Feb 2013
1
Fiona
Sarah’s friend, in W’s music class
Feb 2013
2
Frances Feeny
Indio’s gf in junior year of high school
Apr 2013
2
Frankie
E Sharp owner
Feb 2013
2
Gareth
Turk’s friend, guitarist for Wages & Gifts
May 2013
2
Gerald, Ms
W’s 8th grade music teacher
Jan 2013
1
Giselle
buys Indio’s guitar
Feb 2013
1
Gladys
chicken
Dec 2014
6
Gwen
Alice’s friend whose party Jesse missed
Aug 2014
5
Hal Brimley
sound guy, Scott’s cousin
Aug 2014
5
Harry Fairn
Miriam’s first husband
Jan 2013
1
Hatendi, Mr
W’s 10th grade physics teacher
Apr 2014
4
Heather
Curtis’s younger daughter
Apr 2014
4
Heidi
owner of dive bar in Longview
May 2013
2
Helen
guitar buyer
Apr 2013
2
Hillary
Danny’s friend at drug house
Sep 2013
3
Howard Dromaine
deputy sheriff
Dec 2014
6
Hunter
guitarist for Clockwork Toys
Mar 2013
2
Hypatia
goat
Jul 2014
5
Ian Dietrich
criminal lawyer at FBI interview
Dec 2014
6
Idette
German backpacker
Mar 2014
3
Indio Fairn
Wynter’s older brother, Joy’s twin
Jan 2013
1
Isabella
Jesse’s gf from Seville
Feb 2014
3
James Robinson
couple who bought Seattle house
Nov 2014
6
Javel
driver in London
Jul 2014
5
Jenny Leung
Indio’s gf
Jan 2013
1
Jeremiah
bass player for Crunch
Apr 2014
4
Jesse Walter Fairn
Wynter’s older brother
Jan 2013
1
Jessica Palermo
Katrina’s second daughter
Nov 2014
6
Jilly
Bea’s daughter
Jan 2013
1
Joey Clifton / Rosie
tattoo artist
Apr 2014
4
Joy Fairn
Wynter’s older sister, Indio’s twin
Jan 2013
1
Kamala
Jenny’s photographer friend
Oct 2014
6
Karel
Wynter’s stuffed robot
Sep 2014
5
Kathryn Hayes
Bea’s mom
Sep 2013
3
Katrina Heathcote-Brown
Patricia’s sister
Nov 2014
6
Keira Grantwell
Stacey’s friend
Jan 2013
1
Kevin Tsang
Jenny’s high school bf
Jan 2013
1
Klementine Turk
Turk’s middle sister
Nov 2013
3
Koshava
Miriam’s attendant
Aug 2014
5
Lachlan
Eliza’s brother
Jul 2014
5
Lavinia
Keira’s mother’s friend
Jan 2013
1
Lawrence Heathcote 
Patricia’s uncle
Nov 2014
6
Lawson, Mr
Indio and Wynter’s art teacher
Mar 2014
4
Led
Turk’s kitten
Sep 2013
3
Leonard Yu
Arthur’s older brother
Mar 2013
2
Les “Buckaroo” Donovan
Jenny’s grandfather
Jan 2013
1
Lewis Shanck
boy that Indio beat up
Apr 2013
2
Lexie
Harry’s dog
Jan 2013
1
Lia Turk
Turk’s oldest sister
Sep 2013
3
Linda
Althea’s sister
Apr 2014
4
Ling, Mrs
W’s 8th grade homeroom teacher
Jan 2013
1
Lisa Truman
Jesse’s 11th grade gf
Aug 2014
5
Liu, Dr
Caleb’s doc
Feb 2014
3
Loretta Robinson
couple who bought Seattle house
Nov 2014
6
Lottie / Goldilottie
Jesse’s 8th grade gf
Mar 2013
2
Lucy Gerarchi
Jesse’s wealthy gf
Aug 2014
5
Luke Casiano
security firm, highwayman
Mar 2014
4
Lulu
chicken
Dec 2014
6
Lydia
Jesse’s gf for costume party
Mar 2014
4
Mackenzie
birthday girl at party where Jesse DJs
Oct 2014
6
Madeline
foster sister in Olympia
Aug 2013
3
Maggie
vocalist for Crunch & Mail Order Chicks
Apr 2014
4
Malcolm Leventhal
Miriam’s second husband
Jan 2013
1
Malika
Neil Hester’s assistant
Jul 2014
5
Marcus
Jesse’s best friend
Mar 2013
2
Marshall
Keira’s cousin
Feb 2013
1
Martha
music teacher at Frankie’s
Feb 2013
2
Martinique, Mrs
childhood neighbor of the boys
Mar 2013
2
Mason
W’s physics group project partner
Apr 2014
4
Mateo
Caleb’s colleague, Fourth July bbq
Jul 2013
2
Matilda
chicken
Dec 2014
6
Meg Whitfeld
Jesse’s first gf that counts
May 2013
2
Meghan
realtor
Feb 2014
3
Meisa
bass player for Mail Order Chicks
Jul 2014
5
Mick
guy at Halloween party
Oct 2014
5
Mikaela
Stacey’s friend, plays violin
Feb 2013
2
Miriam Wild
Wynter’s mother
Jan 2013
1
Munroe, Mr
dance committee member
Nov 2014
6
Myra
admin office in junior high
Jan 2013
1
Natalie
Jesse’s gf when Wynter first meets him
Jan 2013
1
Nathan
W’s foster brother in Olympia
Aug 2013
3
Neil Hester
Copper Beach Records producer in London
Jul 2014
5
Nessie
van
Nov 2014
6
Neville
Patricia’s older cousin
Mar 2014
4
Neysa
Jesse’s gf before Wynter met him
Jan 2013
1
Nguyen, Councilman
Rosa’s councilman
Apr 2013
2
Nico
Miriam’s attendant
Aug 2014
5
Nicole
Caleb’s date at Japanese restaurant
Mar 2014
4
Nilusha
Tai chi instructor at ashram
Dec 2014
6
Nora Lakatos, Mrs
singing teacher
Apr 2014
4
Okeanos 
yoga instructor at AZ retreat
Apr 2014
4
Olivia
Caleb’s gf who brings lemon tree
Aug 2014
5
Oscar Ozolins
vocal coach in Monroe
Nov 2014
6
Paige Palermo
Katrina’s third daughter
Nov 2014
6
Paislee / Paiz
Marcus’s gf, comes to costume party
Apr 2014
4
Patricia Brown
owner of Patty’s
Jan 2013
1
Paul
Bea’s fiancé
Aug 2014
5
Pavel
Dusk’s stepdad
Dec 2014
6
Pearl
chicken
Dec 2014
6
Penelope
proposed previous owner of W’s overalls
Dec 2014
6
Pennington, Mr
vice principal of junior high
May 2013
2
Perry, Mrs
W’s 9th grade math teacher
Mar 2014
4
Piper
Turk’s gf / Indio’s encounter
Jan 2013
1
Rachel Orlev
principal in junior high
Feb 2013
2
Rafael
Lucy’s Filipino maid
Sep 2014
5
Rain Legates
Joy’s Aussie roommate
Sep 2013
3
Raya
girl from ashram who moves to Thailand
Aug 2014
5
Rebecca
Indio’s blind date (Lydia’s friend)
Mar 2014
4
Renata
Mateo’s wife
Jul 2013
2
Richard Palermo
Katrina’s husband
Nov 2014
6
Ricky
guitarist for Crunch
Apr 2014
4
Ripley
goat
Jul 2014
4
Rob
Jesse’s friend/bandmate
Jan 2013
1
Roberto, Mr
W’s 9th grade homeroom teacher
Mar 2014
4
Roman
Xays’ best friend
Jan 2013
1
Rosa (Dr Rosamund Meyers)
foster mother in Richland
Jan 2013
1
Rosie
Joey’s nickname
Jun 2014
4
Ru Shi
Jesse’s study partner
Mar 2014
4
Rubylynn
Jesse’s hair stylist
Sep 2014
5
Ryan
Madeline’s ex-bf
Sep 2013
3
Sally
Turk’s girlfriend
Jul 2014
5
Sam Hawthorn
guitarist mentioned by Arthur
Mar 2013
2
Sarah
Hunter’s gf
Mar 2013
2
Scott
sound guy, Jesse’s friend
Jul 2014
5
Sean
Joy’s husband
Jan 2013
1
Serena
Jessica’s friend
Nov 2014
6
Sharmila
Stacey’s friend
Feb 2013
1
Shelley Lysterfield
promoter
Sep 2014
5
Shona
journalist in London
Jul 2014
5
Skar
boys’ childhood dog
Feb 2013
1
Sokolov, Mr
Jesse’s high school counselor
May 2014
4
Stacey Abrams
W’s 8th grade friend
Jan 2013
1
Stefan
Jenny’s actor bf
Jan 2013
1
Stella
Joy’s friend from Light
Dec 2013
3
Stephen Calhuun
musician in London
Jul 2014
5
Steve Wensel
guitarist option for Soggy Breakfast
Apr 2014
4
Stubby
sound guy at 3rd gig
Nov 2014
6
Suki
Eleanor’s friend at Rule212 gig
Nov 2014
6
Suzanne Norris
Caleb’s 10th grade dance date
Mar 2014
3
Svetlana Verenich
W’s social worker in Olympia
Sep 2013
3
Sylvia Heathcote
mother of Ellie, Patricia, Katrina
Sep 2014
5
Tabitha
Lucy’s friend
Sep 2014
5
Taiya Wiseman 
writer for Seattle Song
Nov 2014
6
Tamara
Stacey’s friend at sleepover
Apr 2013
2
Tanesha
Alice’s friend, psych major
Jul 2014
5
Theresa
W’s swimming instructor
Mar 2014
4
Thomas
librarian in Burlington, VT
Nov 2014
6
Thu
works at mini golf
Apr 2014
4
Tien
teaches at dojo
Nov 2013
3
Tiffany
Curtis’s elder daughter
Apr 2014
4
Tim Calhuun
musician in London
Jul 2014
5
Timon
previous owner of Nessie
Nov 2014
6
Tina Campbell
social worker
Jan 2013
1
Tony
owner of Only Tony’s
Nov 2014
6
Trevor Flemming
old friend of Harry’s
Aug 2014
5
Tubbs, Mr
Jesse’s stuffed rabbit
Aug 2014
5
Turk (Anže Turk)
Indio’s best friend, guitarist for Blunderbelly
Jan 2013
1
Vanessa / Nessie
van
Nov 2014
6
Varpu
Heathcotes’ au pair
Nov 2014
6
Veronica Moretti
FBI Special Agent
Dec 2014
6
Vince
vocalist for Soggy Breakfast
Apr 2014
4
Vivienne Benedict
Instagram influencer, Marcus’s cousin
Mar 2014
4
Walter Heathcote-Brown
Ellie, Patricia & Katrina’s brother
Sep 2014
5
Wellesley, Mr
high school librarian
Mar 2014
4
Wigney, Mrs
W’s English teacher in senior year
Sep 2014
5
William (Bill) Brown
Ellie, Patricia & Katrina’s father, ran diner
Sep 2014
5
Willow
yoga instructor at AZ Retreat
Apr 2014
4
Wilma
mother goat
Jul 2014
4
Wynter
girl from ashram
Jan 2013
1
Xay / Xavier Morant
W’s friend from ashram
Jan 2013
1
Yannis, Mr
W’s 8th grade math teacher
Jan 2013
1
Yvonne
session singer for Calhuun
Jul 2014
5
Zack
Madeline’s older brother
Oct 2013
3
Zeppelin / Zep
Turk’s kitten
Sep 2013
3
Zoe
Harry’s first Seattle gf
Feb 2013
2

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