RG2E Featured Author Heather Sutherlin gives you the scoop on Naming Her Books’ Characters

Happy Thursday, RG2E Peeps!

Welcome to The RG2E and/or Welcome Back!

Ever wonder how authors come up with the names for their books’ characters? Here’s RG2E Featured Author Heather Sutherlin to share her scoop on this…

Hello, friends! Don’t you just love the RG2E? Where else can we chat with writers about their new books and hear all the inside stories about characters and setting ideas, plot creation and inspiration behind some of our favorites? I love it!

Do you ever wonder how authors come up with names for their characters or cities? Readers and writers alike have been asking me lately how I created the names for characters in my books.  Since I write fantasy for the most part, my characters are not your typical guys and gals. I believe their names should reflect a bit more of their unique qualities. So, a few years ago I came up with a fun way to develop character names. Nearly all of my work has been inspired by dreams. I’ll have a fantastic dream filled with action, suspense, and a little magic. Then, when I wake up I hurry to write it all down. This means that some characters come to me with names already and I don’t change those because I try to keep all of the initial material intact and save my creativity for filling in the blanks.

As I finish my first draft, characters that are unnamed usually stay that way for a while. I will write with a lot of “he said” and “she said” until I begin to see more of who that character will be or what defines them. Then, the fun part begins. I choose a world culture that seems to fit them well and start a Google search. For instance, in my first book, A Light In The Darkness, I kept picturing the settings like a typical medieval Britain but my characters were a bit more Celtic. The main characters were already given names, but when I came to a new character, I turned to my old friend Google for help. I knew I wanted to give the healer a name that reflected more of her character, so I searched for Celtic words that mean light or healer. From there, I selected a few words that seemed fitting and molded them into the name I needed. Thus, Aileena was born of the name Aeveena (radiance) and lia (healer). This is not an exact science, so those of you who actually know more Celtic sources than I do, please forgive me if I’m not exactly correct. The point is to create something new from something known.

This comes easily sometimes as in the case of my favorite character, Aiden. He remained “the guard” for an entire book until I finally decided to relate his name to the fire that helped to shape his character. That fire becomes a HUGE part of his character in the sequel, To Light The Path, and when I realized that, I knew his name had to reflect it. So, off I went to Google and a quick search of Celtic names meaning fire brought up Aiden. That seemed to fit him perfectly, so I didn’t even bother to change it from its original. I’m so glad I didn’t. These examples all come from Celtic words because that seemed to fit my vision of the culture I was writing. But later characters have names from Arabic and African influences.

Next month I’ll be releasing the first book in a whole new series called SEEN. It follows three young characters who get swept up in a bit of magic and find themselves with the weight of a whole new world on their shoulders. In this series, names mean power and each character discovers that their destiny was decided long ago when their ancestors first gave them names. It was a lot of fun to write and I can hardly wait to share the adventure with you.

Until then, I hope you’ll enjoy my first series and to get you started today I’ll be giving away Ebook Gift Copies of A Light In the Darkness.

What special meaning do the names in your life hold? Writers, how do you come up with names for your characters? I would love to hear from you…

And let us know if you would like to win a copy of A Light In The Darkness. I have a whole virtual stack of ebooks waiting for a few lucky readers.

About Heather:

Heather Sutherlin lives in Arkansas with her husband and three children. She loves all things creative and enjoys the worlds she dreams up, longing to live the adventure alongside her characters. When she’s not at her writing desk, she is busy exploring and learning with her children or cooking big, elaborate meals in the kitchen with her husband.

You can see more of Heather at her website, HeatherSutherlin.com, on Facebook, Twitter, or email her at HSutherlin@gmail.com

Her Books are available on Amazon , Nook and Kobo (for between 99 Cents and $2.99)


I luv this kind of Behind The Books Scoop, Heather! Thanks sooo much for sharing with us and for treating us to Ebook Gift Copies too!

The Best of RG2E Ereading Wishes — D. D. Scott, RG2E Founder


10 thoughts on “RG2E Featured Author Heather Sutherlin gives you the scoop on Naming Her Books’ Characters

  1. It was nice to see how you come up with character names. I would love to have a copy of A Light In The Darkness for Kindle.

  2. Great post! I enjoyed seeing how you come up with your names. I would love a copy of “A Light in the Darkness for Amazon Kindle. Thanks!

  3. Isn’t google wonderful.
    I enjoyed reading about your process.
    I would love a copy of “A Light In the Darkness” for Kindle please.
    Thank you for sharing.

  4. This sounds very good. Id love to read a copy. If i win, may i have a kindle copy please? Thank you!

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