I think one of the trademarks of my Atlantis series is the use of Greek names. I have had a mixed reaction to them. Many times, especially from my veteran readers, I am simply asked how to pronounce the name. Typically I tell them however they want.
I guess I rest on two positions with regard to choosing a
character name. The first is by look. I remember reading or hearing somewhere that
JK Rowling chose Hermione’s name because it looked good on the page. When
readers were battling between two different pronunciations, Rowling said
something along the lines that readers could pronounce it whatever way they
wanted. That was part of the experience. I think her fans might have thought that
was a cheat, but I completely understood.
I chose the name Menelaus when I was 14 and hadn’t read the Iliad.
I chose the name because it looked strong. It looked fierce. Basically, it
looked worthy of a corrupt, power hungry king. Life is full of coincidences and
poetic parallels. I believe my Menelaus might be very similar to the Spartan leading
the Trojan War.
Atlantis Cursed is filled with Greek names given to me by my
7th grade teacher. We had to write our own myth. Mine involved a
fish that fell in love with a bird. He built wings so he could fly and be with
her. It had a tragic ending as most mythologies do, but was my way of
explaining the “flying fish.” I found and used this list of names as I began
writing my novel in high school.
That was extremely limited, so I soon moved onto searching
for names on the internet. There are actually some awesome sites that give Greek
mythological names for the purposes of naming babies. This site also gives
meaning, which I started to use in my quest to name characters. For instance, I
was going to name a king something until I learned it meant “soft.”
Not really something that projects the stature of a king. The fact that such a
site exists actually explains some crazy student names I experienced as a
Naming a character, in many ways, is like naming a child. I know
some of the names may be hard to figure out. For instance, in Zeus Defended,
there is General Tyrantaeus. I picked it because it kind of looks like “tyrant,”
which totally fits the General’s personality. Again, it read to me as a strong
I guess my ultimate decision of picking Greek names comes
down to my second, much simpler position. This is Atlantis, a world descendant
of ancient Greece. They should have Greek names. It adds a flavor to the work…a
dimension that suggests it is real. Ultimately making readers live in this
world and believe it to be real in some way is the reason why I write. Names are just one
more tool to achieve this result.