I think part of the reason why I often feel that the names I chose must be able to be “justified” is because my father was a police officer and I was raised with a somewhat of a “rules” mindset. This seems to serve me well with naming and writing.
He was raised in a dystopian era under a dictatorship, in a time when the focus of life is a huge jail system. His parents were perfect citizens who never got arrested (seeing people get arrested is a frequent occurrence).
Friends and associates are Reese, Sandy, Delilah, Gray, Eli, and Dominick.
He works as a prison guard (there are a lot of prison guards). He’ll probably be the type that helps out the prisoners though.
For this prison guard I chose given names that are also surnames, in part because often guards are called by their surnames. Surnames also suit this character and this world because in a world where people are often arrested (and presumably disappear into the jail system for life) one of the few ways to encourage preservation of family and family history would be to pass on family names to children.
The writer replied: I really like Hartley, thanks.
Characters in a dystopian story live in a world with rules and mores that are different from ours, and their names should reflect those rules and mores.