Melanie Nowak

Author of the Venomous Vampire series

ALMOST HUMAN

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Melanie Nowak
Administrator
Posts: 364

In another thread, the topic of name meanings came up. This is something that I have always put a lot of thought into. I can't say that every single name holds deep hidden secrets about each character...but some do...and some were chosen just for my own personal associations. No matter the origin, I thought readers might be interested to find out where some of my character names came from.


My response to that post will serve to kick off "The Meanings Behind the Names..." 

*If you haven't finished reading ALMOST HUMAN - the First Trilogy yet, these explanations will contain some spoilers. As far as predicting further into the series...it's all open to speculation ;)


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~ Melanie Nowak

March 25, 2014 at 12:03 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Melanie Nowak
Administrator
Posts: 364

In another forum, SuperLexyLu wrote: "I absolutely LOVE the fact that you named Ben's dad Bernard given the fact that it means "brave as a bear". Bernard definatley tries to be brave-hardy when he acts like the main character of an action manga. He's crazy and I LOVE how crazy he makes Felicity haha . I feel bad that she has to deal with him, but the way she deals with him and how she feels about him is hilarious!"

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HI SuperLexyLu:


I’m so glad that you recognized the meaning of Bernard's name! I actually put a lot of thought into my character names, and they are each very meaningful to me in some way that affects the character’s personality or role in the series. I actually planned out most of this story (all 12 projected books) from the beginning, so I know where the characters are going, for the most part, and who they will be in the end. (Although, they often insist on taking me on unplanned detours along the way…;) ) That allows me to foreshadow, shape and evolve them during the story, knowing who I want them to be in the final book – that includes how I name them.


Bernard does mean “Brave/Bold/Strong as a Bear”, and I thought it was perfect for his bold, self-assured personality. I was hesitant to use it at first, if only because it breaks a writing rule: never give main characters similar names that start with the same letter. However, it suited him well, and his son’s name “Benjamin” means “son of my right hand”, which I thought would be perfect for the son of the vampire hunter – and it’s shortened version, “Ben” means “son of my sorrow”, which seemed appropriate, considering Bernard’s betrayal of marital trust and the loss of Ben’s mom.


An explanation of some of the others:


Cain/Christian – his name is the most obvious, chosen almost as antonym’s due to their biblical associations, and the character’s struggle to balance good and evil within himself, not to mention the very literal associations between the story of Cain and how our Cain had ended up killing his brother.


Felicity – is a “Virtue” name (a Puritan given name, derived from one of the Christian virtues) and it also means “Happiness”. I thought it was a good representation of Cain’s desires.


Sindy – Her real name is Cynthia, which is Greek, and literally means “Woman from Kynthos” – an epithet for the “Greek Moon Goddess, Artemis”, who is also the goddess of the hunt. A “Moon Goddess on a Hunt” sounds just like Sindy to me! She chose the nickname “Sindy” for herself to be representative of “Sin”…both instigated by her and inflicted unwillingly upon her.   


Arif – means “Wise and Knowledgeable” in Arabic – this makes more sense when you remember that this was not the name he was born with, but one he chose for himself. I have actually met 2 men named Arif in my real life. One was my dentist, who is a great guy, LOL. But the first Arif I ever met made a strong impression on me as a very controlling, self-centered, and slightly creepy although attractive man. He would not know me - I barely knew him, he was a parent in a school I worked at, but he (and the fact that he would sometimes be accompanied by his mistress instead of his wife) inspired the character of Arif.


Lorelei – “Temptress”


Elric – “Noble Commander”


Kieran – “Little Dark One” (although he has a light countenance and fun personality, he does have a dark sense of humor)


Maribeth – “Sea of Bitterness”


Mattie (Matthew) – “Gift of God”. Mattie has a very important role to play in steering the fate and future of many people...hopefully in a good way, as an “instrument of God”. I see him as being the voice of conscience for Allie, which becomes more and more important as the story progresses.


Allie/Alyson – I saved Allie for last because her name origin has the longest and coolest story, if only because it seems more like she orchestrated it than I did (she’s independent like that sometimes, LOL) .  When I first started writing…I’m talking about the first hours of inception…I knew all about Cain, Felicity, Ben and Sindy, and I thought to myself “I need another human friend for Ben to talk to when he’s complaining about Cain and Felicity”. I decided it should be a female character, and knew that personality-wise she should be very different from Felicity and Sindy. I came up with the idea that she was secretly in love with Ben’s dead friend Mattie, who was now a vampire, she would someday become a vampire herself, and that I was going to make her very powerful to eventually skew the story in a more epic-urban fantasy direction.


Since she was a best friend to Ben, suddenly another, very different character came to mind: Willow Rosenberg from Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I love Willow’s character! She is very different from my Allie, but she began as a best friend to the main character, who seemed (forgive me) deceivingly inconsequential, and then evolved to be arguably the strongest character (magic-wise) in the series. The parallel to what I wanted to do seemed very cool to me, so as a nod to that character, I chose to name her Alyson, after the wonderful actress who portrayed Willow, Alyson Hannigan, and I spelled it the same way she does. I learned that Alyson means “Of Noble Kind” which was absolutely perfect for my purposes! So, Alyson was born.


Now, here’s a twist… early on, as I wrote, I found that Alyson’s hair and attitude began to remind me of the music artist P!NK. I love P!NK’s music and how she alternately shows the tough, fun-loving, and vulnerable sides to her personality in her songs. P!NK is often good inspiration for me when I’m in “Allie-mode”. Somewhere along the way, I found out that P!NK’s real name is Alecia…another version of Allie. Wow, kind of cool! Well, not too long ago, P!NK had her first child, a daughter. You know what she named her baby girl? Wait for it… WILLOW… the original inspiration for Allie’s name in the first place. Talk about coming full circle!

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~ Melanie Nowak

March 25, 2014 at 12:08 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SuperLexyLu
Member
Posts: 10

Wow! That is AMAZING! I knew what Bernard and Felicity's names meant, but I had no idea you put so much thought into the names for these characters! And I definatley would not have been able to make the connection with Sindy's(Cynthia's) name without you explaining it here. And now, more than ever, I am certainly looking forward to seeing how Mattie will steer the story. I'm also curious as to know what other characters might make an appearance and take-hold of the story. With about seven more books to read lol I'm sure things will eventually unravel into something quite complicated, and I am very much looking forward to reading the rest of the story.

 

March 25, 2014 at 12:53 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SuperLexyLu
Member
Posts: 10

Oh, and another thing. I am actually quite interested in names in gernral and I am VERY interested in knowing more of the character's middle names. I enjoyed learning Sindy's and if it isn't spoiling anything, I was wondering if you would humor me by posting Felicity, Ben, Cain(ChristianSr), Allie, Mattie, and ChristianJr's middle names. And more if you don't mind, but I'm really only interested in those six.

March 25, 2014 at 1:00 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Melanie Nowak
Administrator
Posts: 364

To be honest, I chose Sindy's middle and last name because I wanted it be the most wholesome, sweet sounding name I could realistically think of, that would be the opposite of how Sindy wanted to portray herself, and be embarrassing to her. Cynthia Abigail Applebaum.

 

Plus, I knew Cynthia Abigail would be a name Cain would love, and help him to see past her facade to the picture he had been putting together in his mind of the person she could be...when she wasn't acting like such a bitch, LOL. Cain always felt there was someone better inside of her, hiding under all the emotional scars - and even if he was projecting onto her what he would like to see, knowing her real name helps complete that vision for him.

 

To be honest, I haven't given the other characters middle names yet. I thought that in the future, if the occasion arose where one seemed necessary and fitting, I would discover and reveal it then.

 

Cain's last name is Herald: a messenger of God. (As in "Hark, the Herald Angels sing...")

 

Felicity's last name is Snow, to represent purity.

 

Benjamin's last name, Everheart, I just made up to conjur the image of someone with a true and steady heart. While this may not match well for his father, Bernard, a man who cheated on his wife, it does fit with the whole brave, heroic  type image Bernard holds for himself…plus I think “Bernard Everheart, Vampire Hunter” just sounds cool!

 

Alyson's last name is Freeman, meaning "Born Free", to match her free spirit.

 

Mattie's last name is Reade, which is simple and unassuming, like Mattie but is derivative of an Irish name that also means "spirited", which I thought matched nicely with Allie..

 

So, that’s everyone I can think of at the moment. When and if I do give anyone a middle name, I’ll be sure you are the first to know ;-)

 

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~ Melanie Nowak

March 25, 2014 at 8:26 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SuperLexyLu
Member
Posts: 10

Thank you. Honestly, I've conjured up some of my own middle names for characters in trying to guess what they might be. Like for Felicity, for some reason Euphemia kept coming to mind. It derives from the word euphemism to mean "well-spoken" Which in some sense is ironic given how shy she kind of starts off. To me though, given how she tries to speak her mind more and more, it does kind of fit. Though Felicity Euphemia Snow doesn't roll off the tounge too well lol, its simple translation does seem appealing to her personality: Happy, Well-spoken, Pure. And for Christian(Jr) I just figured Felicity would pick Daniel(Thinking of Cain and his loss of course) or simply Benjamin for obvious reasons. I am very interested to 'hear' your take on this and definately want to be kept posted when you've come up with the names you want for them. :)

March 25, 2014 at 9:41 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SuperLexyLu
Member
Posts: 10

And also, as a little side note: I LOVE Sindy! Excuse my language, but she is a bad bitch. She completely speaks her mind and even though I have never even ATTEMPTED HALF of the things she has done, I feel a connection to her. She is 'human'(more or less lol). Even as a vampire she is still a flawed, fragile human-being. She's made mistakes and 'royaly' messed things up before, but you can see the change in her so clearly. She is gaining values, and though I suspect she will always act like a brat and try to get her way, I don't think always do it "at any cost". Honestly, I want her and Felicity to become friends. They are COMPLETE opposites, but have 3 things in common: Ben, Cain, and Allie. Plus, opposites attract lol.

March 25, 2014 at 9:58 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Melanie Nowak
Administrator
Posts: 364

Cool! I must admit - I've never heard the name "Euphemia" before - interesting. honestly though, I can't see her parents being that creative, LOL.
Still leaving Christian without a middle name for now. I don't think Daniel would have been chosen - Christian is enough from Cain. Benjamin maybe...

I am so glad you love Sindy!!! I have a special place in my heart for all of my characters, even when they misbehave. During the first few years the books were out, it was very hard for me to read how people hated Sindy so much. I know the story was designed that way, but I had to bite my tongue to keep from defending her to everyone, LOL. 

All of my characters are ever evolving and growing, some more obviously than others. With the second trilogy and the ability to give Sindy more of a voice, I think readers are understanding her more - they can still hate her, that's fine, but I hope maybe they "get" her.

That said... Felicity and Sindy as friends may be a bit of a stretch...but they will have contact again, and shared history and understanding of each other may allow them tolerance to work well together when necessary. They may even sort of be "friends" but each would never "consider" the other a "friend". I've felt that way ever since the opening scene of EVOLVING ECSTASY when Sindy is sitting out on the curb and Felicity asks her if she needs a ride home...

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~ Melanie Nowak

April 2, 2014 at 1:18 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SuperLexyLu
Member
Posts: 10

Yes! I really can't wait. They are definate character foils of each other and I am looking forward to seeing their interaction with each other again. See what's changed and what hasn't and honestly what they would say to each other if given a chance. Plus what circumstances are they going to meet again under? I mean SIndy is with Arif where I left off(obviously) and Arif has made plans to 'obtain' Felicity so I'm wondering if Felicity will meet Sindy there and (at first) blame Sindy for her kidnapping. Honestly though I think the only reason I want them to be friends is because I love both characters so much! And Felicity is so nice and typically tries to be friendly toward everyone. I mean she even attempted a friendship with Ashley. Plus, I think Sindy needs more female friends. And even if they only end up "friends", I think I'll still be fairly satisfied with that.

April 4, 2014 at 12:23 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SuperLexyLu
Member
Posts: 10

Oh, and I just want to quickly thank you for humoring my silly posts! ^^ I know I have a lot to say and I hope I'm not being a pest lol.

April 4, 2014 at 12:26 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Melanie Nowak
Administrator
Posts: 364

You are not a pest! No matter that I've sold over 25,000 books, I still find myself surprised sometimes to find that others know and care about my characters like I do, LOL.
I love being able to discuss and share them!    :D

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~ Melanie Nowak

April 6, 2014 at 2:52 PM Flag Quote & Reply

dhmack04
Member
Posts: 10

I found this discussion very interesting. Thank you for sharing. 

April 27, 2014 at 5:24 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Melanie Nowak
Administrator
Posts: 364

Hi Debbie - thanks :D

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~ Melanie Nowak

April 30, 2014 at 1:25 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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