Secrets of the K’Barthan Series unlocked.

One of the great things about being an author is that you get to be a bit… hmm…. let’s call it, ‘eccentric’. It is one of the parts of the job I truly delight in – and probably the bit I am best at. Certainly I’m far better at being a bit weird than I am at writing books, but I digress. One of the things I get asked sometimes, apart from, ‘Are you mad?’ is where I get the names from.

Well, clearly we authors can make some of them up, like The Pan of Hamgee, while others are normal, like Ruth or Lucy or a bit comedically untrendy, names normally associated with the elderly, for example, like Gladys and Ada. Then again, judging by the amount of Masies, Ediths, Dots and Daisey’s under ten there are now, and the rate the real Gladys and Adas are dying off, there will probably be lots of toddlers and babies named Gladys and Ada before long. Christened by people too young to remember that no-one under 70 was called Gladys or Ada for many years.

In other instances, if you’re looking to name characters you can turn to the world around us… things like this:

philip softone2

Yes, Philip Softone got his name from some lightbulbs. Ever since I saw the first advert for these in about 1989 I have been giggling quietly to myself about who Philip Softone is and wondering what he is like.

Meanwhile his assistant…


I know, I know… I really should grow up. 😉

There must be a way I can work Clancy Docwra in there somewhere – just because it’s such a jolly silly name (sorry Clancy, if you’re reading this). Indeed, I reckon I may have to write some wild west punk specifically for him, because with a name like Clancy, he can only be a sheriff or a sharp shooter right… or do you think he might be a card shark? Hmm not sure.

Another rich source is place names. When I’m driving along and I see signposts to places like Leighton Bromswold and Carlton Scrope I immediately start wondering who they are, what they do and what they’re like. It’s easy to pick and choose, too. You can go for something off a random signpost sighting, like Carlton Scrope, or you can choose something more simple like Alton, Ashington, Norton, Dacre, Derby or even Troon. You can put them together to make first names and surnames: Alton Troon, Norton Dacre etc. If you want to get seriously wacky you can go off piste and try another country.

So if you’re about to name your main character Kyle, hold up! Why not see if there’s an interestingly named town near you?


Filed under General Wittering

21 responses to “Secrets of the K’Barthan Series unlocked.

  1. There’s a village in the Forest of Dean called Redmarley D’Abitot. It was a generally accepted truth in my family that ‘Red’ Marley D’Abitot was a fearsome pirate, the scourge of the Cotswolds, nicknamed for both his beard and the blood on his hands.

    So yeah, I’m with you on the place names.

  2. This is very appropriate as I realised yesterday that five people in my current WIP have names beginning with S (Simon, Steve, Sarah, Sandra and another Sandra) and my lead male was Daniel – the baddy’s name in another of my books! For my kids’ fantasy I used latin bird names (just because there happened to be a book on the table). Your way is much more interesting.

  3. Jemima Pett

    The Princelings series characters are mostly named after guinea pigs – mine and other people’s – but sometimes placenames and other associations creep in – King Lynn ruled from Castle Wash, for example. The new scifi series started with old friends from college (well, they’re as old as me, anyway) and expanded to include things that jumped into my head – where on earth did Arko Fanwester come from, for goodness’ sake?

    And can I tag you for the Work in Progress Blog tour? You’ll enjoy it, I promise 🙂

    • Love that. And he may be in a sci fi story but Arko Fanwester is pure steampunk. Fantastic name. 🙂 funny how some names just appear. The Pan of Hamgee did that. Appeared out of the blue I mean.

  4. Oh, I love that method, very clever.

    I like having an excuse for being scatty and eccentric now that I can describe myself as a writer 🙂

  5. Not too far away from me is the gorgeously names Llanllwni… One day, I’m going to use that name.

  6. Love your wacky naming! how would you like my second name, Knyvet? Xx

    • That sounds like one that I’d pick up from my other source: hymns. Chatterton Dix, as in Nigel in book 2 is a hymn writer. I think he wrote the tune to Now Thank We All Our God but don’t quote me on that.



      On 28 September 2014 11:33, M T McGuire Authorholic wrote:


  7. Have you seen the Funny Names Blog?
    The Dodgers and the Braves had a fine center fielder called Marquis Grissom, the tenth of eleven or twelve children, who was named after the Mercury Grand Marquis.

    • Class, that’s a site I’ll have to look for. McOther and I always giggle about U.S. Footie players names. Some are brilliant.



      • Correction: We’re talking baseball, the great American sport. The league playoffs – which lead to the World Series! – begin later this week.

      • Ah a sport that’s completely off my radar – like cricket would be to an American, I’m guessing. 🙂



  8. I love the lightbulb thing! It’s brilliant and really funny. I always write down names I like or think mught be useful, but clearly I am not looking in the right or most amusing places!!!! x

    • It’s probably more a case of it being evidence that I do little else. 😉 I love silly names.



      On 29 September 2014 09:50, M T McGuire Authorholic wrote:


      • Hello, I just wanted to let you know that I have downloaded that Twitter book you recommended so thanks a ton for that. People are starting to follow me and I have no idea how they are finding me, so that’s nice! I did look for an email address for you on here to email and let you know, but I am probably being a doofus because I can’t find one!
        Thanks again 🙂

  9. …so, i can work in a Mister Egbert P. Govan sum’where along the way !! LUV IT.., m’Lady 🙂

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