What’s in a Name?

What’s in a name?


Just as parents agonize for months over what to name their children, I took great care in naming my characters as well as the world around them.


Onyx Bay – It is stated in the book that she was named for her hair, which is in part true. I knew how I wanted the character to look long before I named her. In the beginning, other front runners for her name included Cinnabar, Elara, Jade, and Sphene, but I chose the name Onyx because 1. It’s a stone and she is a strong, resilient character, and 2. It just sounded awesome and lent itself well to nicknames (Nyx, Nicky, etc.). Her middle name, Gale, and her last name, Bay, are hints at her other bloodlines.

Talos Russo – His name was taken from Greek mythology. Talos was a giant man made of bronze who protected Crete from invaders. I figured it was very fitting for his character since he is Onyx’ protector.

John Steele – Many of the surnames are based on the elements and Steele is no different. I wanted his character to have a strong, manly name that would lend itself well to his character. Steele is ex-military and tough as nails and his name needed to match.

Anya Rockwell – Anya original name was to be Sasha, but I felt it didn’t quite mesh with her character. I chose “Anya” because it means “graceful” and “inexhaustible” which is exactly how I envision her.

Jade – She is fierce, strong, stable, and loyal. All these characteristics led to Jade being named after the stone. Although I briefly considered it for the name character, the moment I envisioned Jade’s character, I knew the name was more fitting.

Zack Kim – I picked Kim as a surname for Zack because it means “Gold.”

The Gemmies – As a trio, they are named for their gemstone-like qualities. Individually, Deca, Rile, and Tem, all are named after the months relating to the birthstone they are made of. Deca is short for December, whose birthstone is Topaz. Rile comes from April and is made of diamond. And Tem, who is made of sapphire, is named for September.


Because the Orders are a global presence, I took the inspiration for a number of characters’ names for other languages.

Krev – From the Czech word for blood, Krve

Aivot – Finnish for Brain

Pok – Bulgarian for Rock

Voda – Serbian for Water

Barafu – Swahili for Ice


Other names used in the book also found their origin in another language. For instance, the types of Keepers (Torre, Alfil, and Cavall) are all based on the Catalan names for chess pieces (tower, bishop, and horse).  The commands used to control the Specks follow this trend as well. Leyfi is Icelandic for “Leave” and Palata is Finnish for “Return.”

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