Mystery Mondays: Teagan Riordain Geneviene on What’s In A Name?

With a name as beautiful as Teagan Riordain Geneviene, you may well ask, what’s in a name? Well Teagan, author of ATONEMENT TENNESEE,  is here on Mystery Mondays to tell you.

At the bottom of the post, Teagan has some interesting questions for you, so keep reading…

What’s in a Name?

Hi Kristina. Thanks for inviting me to your Mystery Mondays.

Brain-NamesWhat do you think about names – generally? Or do you think about them? Most people don’t. I however, could really enjoy a big metaphysical discussion about names, but that’s not where I’m headed here. When I started this blog, I promised myself I’d stick to things related to writing or my books.

Names are incredibly important in life and in fiction. The names of my pets were something I chose very carefully, to suit them.

I’m just as meticulous in choosing the names of my characters. The right name can pull you into the mystery of the story, or lend a dramatic tone. When I write a classic type of fantasy, I go all out – researching name meanings and origins, and making sure they fit the traits of the character.

For stories located in the real world (fantasy or not), such as Atonement, Tennessee, I don’t always go to such lengths. Even so, each name speaks strongly to me about the who, what, and where of the character. Right now, I’m showing installments of my novel The Guitar Mancer at my blog. The name-meaning of the heroine is carefully interwoven into the story.atonement-video-cover-copy

There are a lot of cool sites about names and their meanings and origins. Yeah, I know — I’m a total research geek… but check out a few of the websites sometime. You already know that you can find an Internet site for just about anything. There are sites that list names of various myth figures, gods and goddesses, and summaries of the myths. Also, I’m sure you’ve seen at least one of the “baby name” sites. I even found one that list names by their popularity, by state, per year. It’s actually a cool resource if you want to find a character name that’s typical, or common for a given area and time, to help enhance the story in a subtle way.

I’ve used so many of these sites, I won’t try to list them all here. However, I liked this one (below), and thought it was general enough for other people to find it interesting. It’s divided by state. For the most recent years, it lists names for each year, but if you scroll down it gives an average over a five-year range. I liked that because it gave me a wide-ranging picture of what characters might populate my story. I used it for Atonement, Tennessee since the research for that National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) novel had to be done in such a hurry.

Okay, now I’m putting you to work. It’s time for a quick imagining of a story. Pick a state for the setting. Then choose the average age for most of the people there (even go to a “city data” page if you want to get the mean age in your chosen location), and figure out in what year they would have been born. Then click on the closest year listed. Now look at those names and tell me what images came to your mind. What did you see? Didn’t you see a group of people when you looked at the names? What were they doing? Where did they go when they headed out their separate ways?

Have fun,



58 thoughts on “Mystery Mondays: Teagan Riordain Geneviene on What’s In A Name?

  1. Hi Kristina. Thanks very much for hosting me at your lovely blog. I’m still blushing at your kind introduction. ^^’
    Also thanks to everyone here for taking time to read and comment. You’re making this a truly marvelous Monday. Mega hugs. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL… Well, I don’t know that it’s actually advice. But I did share my obsession. 😀
        One of my favorite books (Rebecca) never named the heroine. I spent weeks analyzing that and the effect it had on me as a reader. But for me, names are important. Hugs.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Fiction book names need to evoke imagination for me. Important to write naturally about the character. Changed my own name to a never used middle name for a third person narration. More writing freedom with a reality edge! I love to research name meanings, and found Elizabeth scores big in Numerology! 💛 Elizabeth

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😀 I get what you mean Dyanna. In a way it’s how we describe our thought processes. I figure that when the name feels right, they’ve “told me”. Despite obsessive research, the name also has to feel right to me.
      Thank you kindly for reblogging this post. Huge hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I thought this was wonderful and I adore Teagan and her beautiful name. Her attention to detail with her characters names and personalities is what makes her books/stories so interesting and engrossing. Thank you Kristina for featuring Teagan and Teagan and it was great getting some insight into how you work.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s so nice to see you here, Suzanne. You are so kind — thank you. I know the name thing is sort of my personal obsession, but part of me thinks people might pick up on (resonate with?) the name meanings or origins in a way that enhances the stories. Perhaps a subconscious thing…
      I’m still drooling about those crepes you posted this weekend. Mega hugs to you and Percy. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Fun exercise! I lived in Indiana for three years in the 1990s and I couldn’t believe how many Scotts, Stevens, and Ronalds there were. I love to immerse myself in the research of names, but alas, I eventually have to get back to the task at hand- writing about the people I’m naming. Thanks for a great post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s funny how names can be regional. Once I used a marathon list to find names for athletic men. The marathon results are listed by age,sex, time to run, and where the person is from. It was a great place to do quick research without getting too distracted by the fun of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. When it comes to surnames I find our plethora of cemeteries in and around London gives me my material. Especially as the magnificent seven are mostly full so I can take Dog. I find he is a good judge though his method of selection leaves something to be desired.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hello Kristina. Teagan is such a talented writer I enjoy anything written by her. Thanks for having her as a guest blogger. This is an interesting article. Like Teagan, I too am meticulous in choosing the names of my characters. I think names are very important to a story. Not just the names of the characters but also the names of towns, cities, businesses . . . I’m a research geek too. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Vashti. Thanks for stopping by. Nothing wrong with being a research geek. It makes use more knowledgable 🙂 I find names of towns the hardest to come up with. That took me a long time for my Stone Mountain Series. Much harder than names for some reason. It was a pleasure having Teagan – she’s clearly popular.


  7. Kristina, glad I found you after following the blogging breadcrumb trail from Teagan’s wonder-filled blog!!! Now following. Loved this posts and others. Shared and will be back for more. Hope this weekend treats you kindly. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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