The Meaning Behind the Characters' Names (Part 1)

Yesterday on Writer Unboxed, Carleen Brice had a post regarding quirky character names. Her point was that names need to be memorable and writers should balance their quirky  names with more common ones. It's an interesting point for those of us writing fantasy because odd names are kind of the norm. I do agree with Carleen, though, that even in fantasy--maybe particularly in fantasty--names should be meaningful, pronounceable, and definitely memorable. Katniss anyone?

So with that in mind, I thought it might be fun to give you some insight into why I chose the LIES BENEATH characters' names. Let's start with the protagonist and his foil: Calder White and his oh so loving sister, Maris.

Calder (pronounced KAHL-der) is a Celtic name that means a stream running away from a larger body of water. Given Calder's desire to break away from the family unit, I felt this name worked for him. It also has, in my opinion, a bit of a romantic flair to it, which didn't hurt either!

Maris. Ah, poor Maris. Maris was originally named Ren. Ren is a Japanese name meaning "water lily." It's actually a male name, but I liked it for her because (1) she isn't particularly feminine and she heads up the family, and (2) she works against Lily Hancock, so I liked that their names were connected (even if I was the only one who knew it). But can you guess why it had to change?

For those of you who are fans of Andrea Cremer's Nightshade books, one of the male leads is named Renier (nicknamed Ren) and he is engaged to Calla (nicknamed Lily). Bummer. Ren had to go, and she became Maris, which is Latin for "of the sea."

So that's it for those two. Next time: Pavati and Tallulah!





  1. I love quirky names, it's another way for a book to stand out. And I like the fact that your names have a common water/sea theme. It's always interesting to find out the meaning behind a name. My names meaning is "rock".
  2. Anne-just wanted to tell you I just watched your book trailer...OMG. I am so excited for Lies Beneath.
    • anne
      Thanks, Ilima - I love it a lot!

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