Monday, November 9, 2009

The Rhys Rumble

Gore Vidal said, “Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. As you get older, you get more skillful at casting them.”

The first step for me in peopling my story with interesting characters is deciding on their names. Before THE CHATELAINES (the group blog I share with CL Wilson, Jennifer Ashley, Joy Nash, Gerri Russell, Bonnie Vanak and Cindy Holby) got up and running, the whole gang had some group email discussions about the relative hotness of certain male names. Face it, it’s hard to get excited about a hero named Murgatroyd or Icabod. One name we all agreed had a high hotness quotient was Rhys (pronounced Reece).

I was surprised to learn that several of us had already used, or intended to use, the name. In fact, Rhys is the name of Joy Nash's current hero in SILVER SILENCE. If you love retellings of the Arthurian legend, you have to try Joy's vivid re-imagining of Camelot.

Rhys is also the name of my hero’s father in PLEASURING THE PIRATE. Of course, my Rhys is already dead when the story starts, but that doesn’t diminish his influence over Gabriel. Rhys Drake was a hard man, a driven man, one who demanded much from himself and those around him. His indomitable spirit motivates his son Gabriel to leave a life of piracy and try to reclaim his place as a gentleman.

Would Rhys Drake have ultimately approved? Gabriel will never know. And it maybe wouldn’t matter in the end. Pirates have a tendency to take what they want, devil take the hindermost. Gabriel might not have a swaying deck beneath his feet, but he’s still a pirate at heart.

So that’s the story of my Rhys. Have you read a book with a Rhys in it lately?

What guy names rate high on your hot-o-meter?

PS. Still a few weeks before the drawing for the $100 gift card in my MERRY CHRISTMAS BALL contest! If you haven't done so, be sure to enter!

15 comments:

Jane L said...

Good Monday morning Emily!

I have a couple names I like. I loved Brandon Birmingham, from The Flame and The Flower, I actually named ny middle son Brandon. LOL!

Drake, is another one, although sometimes it is over used and Tristan is a favorite, I have used Tristan in my WIP!
I think it is amazing when an author can take a name and wind a story around it. Me I need a story then find a name to fit. LOL!

EmilyBryan said...

Hi Jane. If ever I write a southern hero I like Bradford Jackson Whitmore.

Sounds like you're a plotter instead of a character driven writer. Which is totally ok. Lots of writers are.

But for me, until I know the character, I can't tell his story because I don't know what he wants. (And how I can keep him from getting it!) ;-)

Jane L said...

Actually I am a puzzler! I think it is probably a difficult way to write but it works for me, it's really funny sometimes, I write out a future chapter and I work backwards, it always comes together! but ya so weird! I think I make writers who are so focused like yourself, cringe LOL!!!!! By the way I am going to use the editing by Jennifer link you sent out for helping me critique some things!

EmilyBryan said...

No Jane, I don't think puzzlers are weird. I think you're "magic!"

SonomaLass said...

I love the name Rhys. It would have been my third child's name, if she had been a he. Katherine Kurtz used it in her second Deryni trilogy, for a very smart and sexy healer.

My partner's using Royston as the hero name in his WIP; I like that. I like names that are names rather than words, for male and female characters. Chase always bugs me for a male character, in particular. Unless there's a plot reason for a character to have a word name, like Submit in Black Silk, of course.

I used to like Tristan, but it's weird for me now because it's my daughter-in-law's name. Her mom liked the name, so decided to use it regardless of the baby's gender.

Cindy Holby said...

My next release has a hero named Rhys. The name means passion in Welsh, so its an appropriate name for a romance hero. Look for my Rhys in Breath Of Heaven coming in June.

librarypat said...

Know I've read books with a Rhys in it, just don't ask me what it was. I did find TO PLEASURE A PIRATE THIS PAST WEEK, so I know where I'll be reading it next.
Matthew is a strong name as are Connor, Brandon,
and Robert. Guess I'm a bit of a traditionalist.

EmilyBryan said...

Sonoma--Sometimes names switch gender over time. For example, Evelyn was a man's name during the Regency. As was Jewell. I have met men named both Evelyn and Jewell, but they were both much older than I.

Not many little male Evelyns running around on the playground today.

EmilyBryan said...

Cindy--Breath of Heaven is a medieval, isn't it? Can't wait!

EmilyBryan said...

Pat! Hope you love PLEASURING THE PIRATE.

Wait. That didn't sound right . . .

EmilyBryan said...

Pat! Hope you love PLEASURING THE PIRATE.

Wait. That didn't sound right . . .

Anna Carrasco Bowling said...

I think Rhys is a gorgeous name for a hero; haven't had a Rhys of my own yet (unless one counts a long ago roleplay where Rhys was my character's nonplayer character husband)but if one introduces himself, he's welcome.

My characters generally tell me what their names are,when they first arrive. A lot of them make me work for it, though. Thankfully I've been collecting name books since I was about eight (proud to have been a weird kid) so I consider it an exciting treasure hunt. My favorite books for this are Names Through the Ages by Teresa Norman and Beyond Charles and Diana by Linda Rozencrantz and Pamela Redmond Satran.

EmilyBryan said...

I have had to change a couple characters names after the story was begun. It's amazing how much a character changes when you change their name.

Nynke said...

Jewell used to be a male name? so strange...

I love the name Rhys, and must have read a couple of novels with one in them, but I can't remember which :)

EmilyBryan said...

Yes, Nynke. In fact, I knew a man in North Carolina named Jewell. And my oldest daughter dated a guy named Lacy while we lived there. (Good thing he was a big tough footbal player. Nobody every teased him about it!) Must be a southern thing.