Guest post: What’s in a name? by Suzanne McLeod + Giveaway

Filed in featured , Giveaways , Guest Post , Suzanne McLeod , The HEA Lover Posted on August 20, 2012 @ 7:00 am 41 comments

Today I am thrilled to introduce one of my favorite authors, Suzanne McLeod on Book Lovers Inc! Suzanne is here with us today to celebrate the upcoming release of her new novel, The Shifting Price of Prey (I love saying it aloud 5 times in a row *wink*). It’s the 4th book in her fantastic series and if you haven’t tried it yet, I can’t recommend it enough. Let’s give a warm welcome to Suzanne who will be talking about how she named her characters. And don’t forget you can win one of her book!

‘What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet’

Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare.

Hello and thanks to the Book Lovers for having me here again!

A rose probably would smell as sweet but once something is named it’s difficult to separate it from its meaning. Somehow saying ‘The bed was covered in skunk petals’ doesn’t have the same romantic ring as ‘The bed was covered in rose petals’. *g*

Names are funny things and as a teenager I always thought it would be cool to have a name that I could shorten so my gender was ambiguous – like Samantha to Sam (have no idea what that says about me . . . :-D). Now as an author I get to choose names for all my characters, and since I like to have a bit of fun with my writing, I like my characters’ names to have some sort of relevance to the story, even if no one else knows that. 🙂

Of course, the other reasons I like my characters’ names to have some relevance is that it makes them easier to pick, and it means I don’t end up with three ‘Peters’ as I did originally in The Sweet Scent of Blood (Spellcrackers #1). 😀 I re-named two of them (the third who kept the name unfortunately got the editorial chop!) but in my head they stayed Peters for quite some time and hence the skunk analogy. 🙂

(Now, being an older and possibly wiser author, when new characters appear, if I haven’t already named them at the plotting stage, they start out as XXX. Researching names, like anything else, is fun but it’s a.k.a. procrastination if you do it when you’re supposed to be writing . . . *looks shifty*)

So, to get back to characters’ names having relevance, all the mountain trolls’ names have something to do with stone or mountains. 🙂 Hugh Munro, who is Genny’s friend, and a police officer for London’s Metropolitan Magic and Murder Squad, comes from the Cairngorms (a range of mountains) in Scotland. He is named for Sir Hugh Munro, 4th Baronet of Lindertis, who was an enthusiastic mountaineer who listed all the mountains in Scotland over 3,000 feet (why they’re called Munros). Two other troll characters are police constables Taegrin and Lamber. Have some fun working out where their names come from.* 😀

All the goblins have names with biblical connections like Jeremiah, Thaddeus, and Obadiah, partly as their own names are impossible for humans to pronounce (the goblin language sounds like high-pitched chittering), and partly because it was the Soulers (the Protectors of the Soul religious order) who first ‘brought goblins out of the darkness’ and put them to work. (A goblin’s natural environment is underground which is why they can’t see too well and their eyes are sensitive to bright lights.)

Now I bet you want to know where Genny, Malik, Finn and Tavish got their names from, don’t you? 😀

Tavish was easy. Even though he doesn’t appear until book 2, Tavish was the first character to hit the page after Genny, and his name came with him. ‘Tavish’ is of Scots/Gaelic origin and is thought to be a variant of Thomas, or it could mean (but doesn’t necessarily) that Tavish is a twin . . . *looks innocent*

Finn hit the page with his name already in place too. While his surname is Panos (a Greek name that seemed particularly apt for a descendant of Pan *g*), Finn’s mother was Irish and she was the one who called him Finn. 🙂

Malik was the hardest to name. (Typical of him, he’s always causing me problems. :-D) I knew his background almost immediately he hit the page but it took a lot of pondering to finally settle on Malik al-Khan. I chose it for two reasons: one, I’ve always had a crush on the actor, Art Malik from when I first saw him as Hari Kumar in The Jewel in the Crown  so I liked the name. And two, Malik means king in Arabic and Khan originates from Genghis Khan (which was a title – supreme ruler/ruler of all – not the guy’s actual name :-)) which all tied in with Malik’s backstory. Not that I’m going to tell you how here! *teases* Oh, and Malik al-Khan isn’t Malik’s actual birth name either. *g*

And then there’s Genny herself. Deciding on her name was nearly as hard as finding Malik’s. Genny actually started out being called Rachel Morgan*— until Kim Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking came out. O_O

But after that little authorial setback I realised that Genny’s father would never have called her Rachel, instead he (along with Genny’s stepmother, Matilde) named her Genevieve, both for its French connections (Matilde’s mother was French) and for its association with the Celtic name Genovefa, which means ‘woman of the people’. Appropriate as Genny’s a bean sidhe which in Gaelic is woman of the sidhe. 😀

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek beneath the surface at the warped and twisted iceberg of how my characters end up with the names they do! Thanks again to the Book Lovers, and thanks to all of you for reading. 🙂

Author note: this post includes random ‘teasers’ for The Shifting Price of Prey a.k.a. readers should keep an eye out for skunks! *evil author cackle*

*Hint: anagrams

*A combination of Rachel from Friends and Morgan le Fey – I’ve always wondered if that’s where Kim Harrison got the name from too. *g*



Suzanne is offering a copy of any book in the series to 1 lucky commenter (winner’s choice)

All you have to do is come up with a name for a Troll or leave a comment or question for Suzanne.

(You can read our full giveaway policy here)

Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment).

This giveaway is open to anywhere the Book Depository delivers!

Giveaway ends on September 1st 2012 and we will announce the winner on Sunday.

Good luck everyone


Photo of roses © Suzanne McLeod (note to self: take some pictures of red rose petals scattered on a bed . . . *teases* )
Photo of Art Malik from IMDb with thanks
Photo of entrance stone to Cairngorm National Park from Wikimedia with thanks

About Caro The HEA Lover

Caroline is a HEA loving, yarn addicted French who's desperately hoping to get a HEA of her own. If she's not reading then she can be found knitting while listening to Audiobooks or watching Tv shows. Her secret addiction is reading websites that make fun at other people's expense (DYAC, Failbook)! Caroline also blogs at the Secret HEA Society with Susi.

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Join the Discussion
  • aurian August 20, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Great post Suzanne, I am looking forward to reading more of your books. Book 3 is on my shelves, and 4 is pre-ordered. Wow to name a troll, how about Andrew Waugh? He named Mount Everest.

    • Suzanne McLeod August 21, 2012 at 4:55 am

      Ooh, I like that one, thanks. *files away* And glad you enjoyed the post; hope you enjoy the books too 😀

  • izzyuniar August 20, 2012 at 7:45 am

    I have not read this series yet but sounds like a great stories.
    How about Dashiell for a Troll name, it’s Scottish and the meaning is unknown. actually I got this name from nameberry and like it, also we can call the troll with Dash for nickname, sounds cool isn’t it?!

    • Suzanne McLeod August 21, 2012 at 4:57 am

      I love the name Dashiell – it always reminds me of Dashiell Hammett who wrote some fabulous noir detective books! Thank you 😀

  • Adis August 20, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Hi, great post! Name for a troll, hmm…. Gryf (it wales, meaning strong). Sound like big ugly but very strong name for troll.

    • Suzanne McLeod August 21, 2012 at 4:58 am

      Thanks, Adis. That’s a great name, and it does sound like its meaning. 🙂

  • erinf1 August 20, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Thanks for such a fun post!!! I’m very excited cuz I just got this series and I can’t wait to read it 🙂 Congrats on the continued success and releases… here’s wishing you many, many more!

    Ummm… If there are female trolls, how about Junko? Junko Tabei was the first woman to reach the top of Mount Everest on May 16, 1975.

    • Suzanne McLeod August 21, 2012 at 5:00 am

      Junko is a fab choice and I love that she was the first women to the top of Mount Everest. So far there haven’t been any female trolls in the books (there’s a reason for that *teases*). Hope you enjoy the books! Thank you 🙂

  • Diane August 20, 2012 at 11:13 am

    I’m not up on names for troll but would Tavros be acceptable? I’m asking help from my son the gamer here…

    • Suzanne McLeod August 21, 2012 at 5:02 am

      I like Tavros – great name! It sounds Greek *makes note to look up* Thank you 🙂

  • blodeuedd August 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    A good name for a troll, hm…..I am just gonna go for the Finnish word for troll, Peikko, cos that sounds like a good troll

    • Suzanne McLeod August 21, 2012 at 5:03 am

      A Finnish troll . . . *idea sparks* . . . and love the name, thanks 😀

  • J9 August 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Troll names, hmm that is a tough one as you want something different. How about Warwyk (I think it means fortress, i have no idea where i heard it from, lol.)

    • Suzanne McLeod August 21, 2012 at 5:04 am

      It sounds a good, strong name, and great meaning! Thank you 🙂

  • Susan August 20, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    This works out perfectly! Now’s your chance to finally use Peter (rock)!

    • Suzanne McLeod August 21, 2012 at 5:05 am

      Lol! Thanks, Susan. I’d forgotten that (good thing really, otherwise I’d have probably had 4 Peters in the first book *g*)

  • eli yanti August 20, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Troll name hem… how about Theodore

    • Suzanne McLeod August 21, 2012 at 5:06 am

      Theodore’s a fab name, thank you 🙂

  • Bethany C. August 20, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Hi, I love this series! I read the last one a while ago so there may already be a character based on these names (I can’t keep everyone straight,) but I think a good name for a female troll would be Marilyn Hewitt. I was googling. I would explain why but I suspect the author knows.

    • Suzanne McLeod August 21, 2012 at 5:14 am

      Thanks, Bethany, so pleased you love the books. There haven’t been any female trolls in the books, so far (there’s a reason for that *teases*) but yes, that’s a brilliant name. *g*

  • Mary Preston August 21, 2012 at 3:42 am

    Names are very important in stories.

    I’d name a Troll BERSERK. They can cause havoc after all.

    • Suzanne McLeod August 21, 2012 at 5:15 am

      Berserk’s a great name, Mary, thanks! It does bring to mind a lot of havoc! 😀

  • JenM August 21, 2012 at 11:33 am

    I spent a few weeks in Norway last spring where trolls are very popular, so how about Jotunn which I believe means “giant” in Norwegian (although I’m Anglicizing the spelling).

    • Suzanne McLeod August 24, 2012 at 4:07 pm

      Ooh, I like Jotunn! Thanks 🙂

  • Barbara Elness August 21, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    My suggestion is Garin (warrior) for a troll name.

    • Suzanne McLeod August 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      Thanks, Barbara. Garin’s a great name, and love the meaning!

  • Victoria Zumbrum August 21, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    My suggestion for a troll name is Gumbo.

    • Suzanne McLeod August 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      Thanks, Victoria, I like Gumbo! It sounds quite cuddly too 😀

  • bn100 August 22, 2012 at 12:42 am

    Fun post. How about Mungo?

    • Suzanne McLeod August 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      Glad you like, thanks! Mungo . . . I like it, thanks 🙂

  • Sheree August 22, 2012 at 3:28 am

    Gneiss? (pronounced “nice”)

    • Suzanne McLeod August 24, 2012 at 4:11 pm

      Oh that’s an interesting one. Thanks, Sheree 🙂

  • Jen B. August 22, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Here’s the thing, I think a troll could be named just about anything as long as it fits the situation or it adds layers to the character. For instance, you could go classic like Rock because he’s a troll. Or, you could name him Fred because his mother thought he was plain or too human looking at birth. Or, go outlandish and name him Sue and say it’s short for Samuel Upton England but he thinks Sue is the lesser of two evils!

    • Suzanne McLeod August 24, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      Oh, I like the way your mind works, Jen! Thank you 🙂 Think I might have to have a troll called Rock. Lol!

  • Antiqueight August 22, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Being me I have a fondness for using irish words as names. I came across Hewitt, Dawson and Sweats as names which have meanings especially regarding are hills that are at least 2,000 feet high.
    Meanwhile some fun peaks in ireland:
    Bréanainn – Brandon
    Gabriel – but he might get mistaken for a goblin…hmm..
    Ben Gorm (means blue ben)
    Benbulben as 2 names, Ben Bulben
    Benbaun again as Ben Baun (white ben)

    • Suzanne McLeod August 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm

      Ooh, that’s a lot of fab names! Thank you! I really like Donard 🙂

  • Spav August 23, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    How about Stocky?

    • Suzanne McLeod August 24, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      That would work great for a short troll, I think 😀 Thanks!

  • donnas August 24, 2012 at 1:09 am


    Seriously think about coming up on a troll named Buddy. Its almost cruel yet funny

    • Suzanne McLeod August 24, 2012 at 4:16 pm

      I am thinking about it 😀 Thanks, Donnas!

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