Names are important. They define who we are and how we think of ourselves. When my brother and I were growing up, our parents decided to call us by our proper names and let us pick our nicknames ourselves. However, I never chose one–there was always a Katie, Kathy, or Kat in the class but rarely ever a Katherine. Besides, I was used to Katherine, and now I cannot imagine being called anything other than my proper name.
One of my favorite things in a story is naming my characters. I always give my main characters first, middle, and last names (and nicknames if they need one). I like make characters names mean something.
In The Enchanted Bird, the heroine’s full name is Renata Elise Keyes, but she is typically addressed as Wren, and goes by Rowan when disguised. Of course, all her first names sound similar, so Wren feels comfortable answering to all of them. Renata means ‘reborn’, which is precisely what she does when she disguises herself. Both Wren and Rowan are names from nature. Wren, an inconspicuous bird with beautiful songs, represents her physical appearance and creative nature. Rowan, a tree thought to be magical, suits her disguise as a dryad. Keyes is a surname for families that worked at docks since Wren’s distant ancestors gained their wealth and influence from Calatini’s booming sea trade.
The hero’s full name is Beza Percival Hawke, but he much prefers to be called Hawke. Beza (pronounced Bee-zah) is actually a Dotterer family name (after Calvin’s successor, Theodore Beza), which I am certain my brother is grateful he was not blessed with. Of course, Hawke despises his name and insisted on being called by his surname since he was five. Unfortunately for him, his proper title is Lord Beza, so he still hears his dreaded given name during formal situations. Percival is the formalized given name of the Scarlet Pimpernel, one of my favorite dashing heroes. Hawke is a variant of hawk, which represents Hawke’s warrior ancestry. In addition, Hawke is a bird name like Wren, albeit more daring, just like his character. He also spends most of The Enchanted Bird on a hunt for the mysterious Rowan.
My Favorite Name Sites
- Behind the Name: meanings and origins of first names
- BabyNames.com: meaning/origins of first names
- 20000 Names: first names from around the world
- Baby Name Guesser: guesses sex of names, finds alter egos, & more
- Behind the Surname: meanings and origins of last names
- Ancestry.com: history and meaning of last names
- Serendipity: fantasy name generator (for people and places)