Character of the Week: Texas Names

Last week I mentioned the rampant white-washing in novels, and the fact that I haven’t been asked to name many characters of color. In fact, unless someone mentions that a character is not white or from a certain ethnicity, I assume the character is white and don’t use names from any one ethnicity. In this example you can see that while the mom’s love interest is said to be Latino the mom’s and her daughter’s race/ethnicity is not mentioned, leading me to default to white.

Need names for Mom, Daughter, and Mom’s Love Interest

Suspense, set in contemporary Texas

Mom is in her late 30s/early 40s. A former Air Force brat (libertarian father, liberal mother) and a scientist for Big Ag, her husband Ryan was recently killed (he was a scientist turned photographer). She is passionate about saving the world through science, loves flowers/gardening and her daughter.

Daughter is 6-8. She loves flowers, bees, and dragons. She doesn’t speak much, in part because she was a daddy’s girl and is not dealing well with her father’s death

Mom’s love interest is a Latino in his early 40s. His parents owned a ranch in Texas. He is fiercely determined to bring down Big Ag, a staunch environmentalist, detail-oriented, and driven.

For these three character’s I wanted distinct names. For the mom I was going for a typical 1970s name, something that made her feel almost-middle-aged and homey. For the daughter I went for a flower/nature name since the novel is about agriculture and both the mom and daughter love flowers and gardening, and also because these names are having a resurgence. For the love interest I wanted a typically Latino name that sounded a little sexy (love interests are always somewhat sexy) and like a down-home country boy. I also chose names that were in use in Texas in the years the characters’ would have been born.

  • Tanya
  • Gloria
  • Allison
  • Meredith
  • Lori
  • Daisy
  • Olive
  • Lily-Rose
  • Hazel
  • Ivy
  • Hector
  • Enrique (Ricky)
  • Roberto
  • Carlos
  • Jose (Joe)

The writer replied: Enrique and Ivy. Torn between Gloria and Allison. Thank you!

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