- by Leslie Langtry
I love naming characters. Naming a character helps me set up her/his personality. I’m not saying names are easy, because they’re not. I have at least a dozen name books. But if it was easy, it wouldn’t be any fun, right?
The characters in my Bombay series about a family of assassins kind of grew around the name of my first heroine – Gin Bombay. The name popped into my head when I woke up from a dream about a family of assassins who’s business has been assassination for 4,000 years. I had the name – Gin Bombay.
Gin had to be short for someone. No one looks at a baby and says, “Gin!” At least, I hope they don’t. Anyway, I decided Gin was short for Virginia. I also decided that the nickname, Gin, was one she was plagued with in college when drunken kids equated her name with a brand of gin.
Naming her Virginia gave me an idea for the rest of the names in the family. I decided that it was a Bombay Family tradition to use place names for first names. That made her mother - Carolina, her brother – Dakota, her cousin (and best friend) – Liv(erpool), and so on. She named her daughter Roma in keeping with tradition.
The stage was set for the series. So then I had to name her love interest. I decided he was an Australian bodyguard. I came up with the name Diego Jones. Diego’s mum was a huge fan of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. His sister was more unfortunate and ended up as Frida Kahlo Jones.
My editor was totally on board with all this, until I came up with a name she thought was ridiculous in STAND BY YOUR HITMAN. In that book, Missi(ssippi) Bombay hooks up with a stuntman named Lex. But that wasn’t my first choice of a name. I’d wanted Uncas. Blame it on my Last of the Mohicans fetish. My editor said it was “ick.”
Which is why I went with Superman’s nemesis and named him Lex. My editor was actually right.
How do you come up with names?