What's in a Name? Picking Character Names

I have a word document that I started more than a decade ago with the names I wanted to give characters in a book. Sometimes I refer to it when I’m stuck on finding the right last name to go with the first.

In Love’s Sweet Joy, the heroine is Monique Sinclair and just as in true Caribbean style, you will see lots of different versions of the name.

I know it’s historical and cultural.Our loss of names during slavery and the adoption of ones given has left us with an identity crisis. Our names speak out to the world who we are. How we call each other speaks of relationship, caring, love.

Here on Montserrat listen to obituaries are always intriguing for me. Someone would have been known by one or two different nicknames. Their official name is usually vastly different and you begin to wonder about the history of the nicknames.

Monique is called Money, Mone, Moni in the book.All at different times and for different reasons. I know I do it to my children as my parents did to with my siblings and I. My parents tend to double barrel the grandchildren’s names so Lord help if we didn’t give them names which rhyme easily.

If you call me Ner, more often than not you’re from Jamaica or have Jamaican parentage. Men tend to either call me by last name or Rissa. Neri if you’re family and Nerissa if we’re friends but not super close. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule but I can tell how you feel about me by what you call me.

I wanted you to feel the affection and the relationships that Monique has in the way her friends call her. Let me know if you notice in Love’s Sweet Joy.