(Reblog of an earlier post.) In an earlier post I mentioned I’d be posting a blog about how I chose the heroine’s name in Howdy, Ma’am and Hey, Cowboy. Her first name is Velia and her last name is Armano.
Her last name started out as Armani, but wait, maybe that wasn’t a great idea. After all, I didn’t want Mr. Armani himself coming down on me. Hah, like Mr. Armani would know about the Bull Rider Series.
I must admit to giving up a great line in the book when I changed her surname. I’ll give a brief explanation about choosing Armano. First, I made it up. Si, I made up Armano. Then I wanted to see if that name existed. It did. Luckily for me, there were only a few families with that name in the region I needed. So, that’s how she got her last name. I love my job.
Most times, I have a name already chosen by the time I start a story. Well, really, most times they come to me with a name. Her name didn’t come to me right away—maybe because she’s Italian. I didn’t have a list of Italian names in my list-of-favorite-names-for-future-books. How did I know I’d be creating an Italian heroine some day? I do know I wanted something different, memorable. According to the Baby name Wizard, Velia hasn’t ranked in the top 1,000 in any time period. I typed “Velia” into Facebook, and no one came up with the name, but there is a Spa Velia and a bridal shop in Umbria, Italy. (Beautiful gowns by the way.)
See, isn’t this name searching thing fun?
When I first saw her name in the list of female Italian names, I knew right away this name was perfect. My next move was to type “Velia” into Google and see what this name means.
I’m weird like that. This is how I found out about the ancient ruins of Elea—which in Latin means Velia.
“Velia is the Italian (and Latin) name of the ancient town of Elea (Ancient Greek: Ἐλέα) located on the territory of the comune of Ascea, Salerno, Campania, Italy in a geographical sub-area named Cilento.”
I loved this idea because in my head, I had to know where her family came from. Once I created my heroine, I began researching, and came across Elea, Italy in the region of Campania and the province of Salerno. Well, this was perfect because Salerno is where her family was from even before I knew about Elea Velia.
I think it was meant to be. From that point on, everything had to work out down to the physical characteristics of a person from southern Italy.
Are you having fun yet?
Why an Italian heroine you might ask? I don’t know. She first came to me as Italian. My hero came to me as a cowboy. Now, what do I do with an Italian heroine and a cowboy? This is funny because it’s exactly what Velia wanted to know when she met Caulder, and she says, “I’m a city girl. What will I do with a cowboy?” She learns fast.
So, yes, Elea (Velia) is an ancient ruin off the coast of southern Italy. I can’t find a whole lot of information about this ancient city, but I would love to visit and see for myself. There is a site in Italian, but I can’t read it, so there may be secrets I don’t know about.
I won’t tell you why Velia’s mamma gave her this name, but it’s in the book. I’m weird like that, too. Sorry… Let’s just say my imagination went to work, and I had to pretend to be madre Italiana.
My information is taken from Wikipedia. I’m careful about doing research via Wikipedia, but for what it’s worth, here’s a small snippet.
“Remains of the city walls, with traces of one gate and several towers, of a total length of over three miles, still exist, and belong to three different periods, in all of which the crystalline limestone of the locality is used…”
To read more about Elea Velia go HERE. The Encyclopedia Britannia has a brief paragraph. More if you have an online subscription. Elea Velia has an interesting history, including being “the Eleatic school of Greek philosophers— Parmenides and Zeno.”
You’re not only learning how my character got her name, you’re also getting a history lesson. You can thank me later.
Of course, you know how to find out why Mrs. Lidia Armano named her daughter Velia… Imagine me with a big smile.
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8 thoughts on “How I Named my Character or Wow, a Lot of Fun Research!”
Pingback: Meet the Heroine: Velia | Author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel
Mary J. McCoy-Dressel
Reblogged this on Author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel and commented:
Oh, my goodness. I’m reblogging another one of my own posts. That’s because I’m trying to get another book out, but this is a good post anyway. I’m not shy. (Sometimes.) If you’re new, enjoy. If you’ve read this before, I’m sorry.
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Mary J. McCoy-Dressel
Hi, Mary Ann, I love Velia’s name. Since I love Italy and all things Italian, the little extra bit of information made it fun. LOL, I got another character’s name from a child in kindergarten class– Uriah is my hero in the time-travel series. Thanks for commenting.
Here’s to choosing the names that *we know* are right for our characters.
Mary J. McCoy-Dressel
🙂 Thanks, Teagan. Good luck with your own upcoming book.
There are some great suggestions here for doing some research on names! It’s nice that you found a beautiful name that is not very common for your main character.
Yes, Fate was with you in the name choices! How fun.
I love researching names and their meanings. For “The Dead of Winter” I went so far as to [in most cases anyway] choose names whose meanings matched something about the character. I’m a research geek — I admit it. :o)
Mary J. McCoy-Dressel
LOL, me too, Teagan. I love research, but not when I have to stop writing to look up something. Grrr, lose the moment, other otherwise, yes. I agree–fate was with me. One more great thing about Howdy, Ma’am! (Spoken from a proud novel Mama.)