Amanda Lester and The Pink Sugar Conspiracy- And Guest Post by Paula Berinstein!

December 11, 2015

Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy banner

This is my stop during the blog tour for Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy by Paula Berinstein. The blog tour runs from 30 November till 13 December, you can view the complete tour schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours.
So far this series contains 3 books: Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy (Amanda Lester, Detective #1), Amanda Lester and the Orange Crystal Crisis (Amanda Lester, Detective #2) and Amanda Lester and the Purple Rainbow Puzzle (Amanda Lester, Detective #3).

I am really pleased to say that the amazing author Paula Berinstein is going to be doing a guest post about how she creates the awesome names that she uses in the Amanda Lester Series. Enjoy!

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Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy

Paula B’s Crazy Character Name Generator

By Paula Berinstein

People always ask me where I get my character names. After all, Particle Peaksribbon, Simon Binkle, and Owla Snizzle aren’t exactly your everyday monikers. Now that I’m doing this wonderful blog tour, I think it’s time I revealed my secrets, which you can use to name your characters too.

I read a lot, so it’s inevitable that I’d get my inspiration from a number of other authors. These four writers are my top influencers:

J.K. Rowling. I just love the names Severus Snape and Bellatrix Lestrange. Of course Snape is a real name of Old Norse or Anglo Saxon origin, but isn’t it evocative? Such a lovely hissing sound. Note that both names imply the traits of the characters they’re associated with. Snape is so mean that he actually does hiss, and he’s so intrusive that he severs whatever he touches. Trix, on the other hand, sounds like “tricky,” and Lestrange is, well, self-explanatory.

Charles Dickens. Seth Pecksniff, Martin Chuzzlewit, Daniel Quilp. Not only are they funny to say, they look silly on paper too. Note how the double letters exaggerate their sound and draw your eye, while a q is rare and exotic and the “lp” combination makes you twist your lips into a weird configuration. Can you guess what kind of character Quilp is from his name?

P.D. Wodehouse. My favorite Wodehouse name is Honoria Glossop, which belongs to a character in the Jeeves and Wooster stories. I could say that all day: Honoria Glossop, Honoria Glossop, Honoria Glossop. Note that one of the Legatum Continuatum teachers is also Honoria: Honoria Pargeter. I draw the line at naming one of my characters Jeeves, though.

Dr. Seuss. A tizzled topped tufted mazurka, a Grinch, Conrad Cornelius o’Donald o’Dell. Seuss gives us alliteration, funny sounds, and rhythm. Try to say Cornelius’s name without feeling that it’s pushing you along faster and faster.  

Pretty cool, huh? So keeping all that in mind, here is what I use:

Funny sounds and letter combinations. Snizzle, Bipthrottle, Absil Thurvy, Blixus. I find that the combinations sn, nk, and upp or ipp make me laugh, as do double consonants like zz, gg, ss and the letter x. I particularly like ish, which is used a lot in the UK (e.g., Professor Scribbish). They’re all hard sounds except for ish, which is just hilarious.

Alliteration. Juxtaposing words that start with the same letter is so much fun! I did that with some of my teachers: Particle Peaksribbon, Ducky Ducey, and Samuel Snool.

Place names. UK place names are so interesting that I often consult a map before naming a character. The names Ribchester (Bill Pickle’s pickle-making rival) and Follifoot (Follifoot Buck, the Legatum profiling teacher) are but two examples.

Ordinary words. It can be fun to combine ordinary words with other sounds or real names, or use them by themselves. For example, there’s Scarper (Mrs. Scarper, the Legatum girls’ dorm supervisor), which means “run away” in English English. Sweetgum, Amanda’s friend Editta’s last name, is a kind of tree, also known as liquidamber. Canoodle is the dean of admissions. Lumpenstein is one of Moriarty’s associates; I made up the name but note that his name and mine end the same way. Scapulus Holmes, Sherlock’s great-great-grandson, is named after a bone in the body, the scapula, or shoulder blade.

People I know or have heard of. Lots of characters in my stories are named after people I’ve known. I once had a gym teacher named Miss Also. My fifth-grade teacher was Mr. Ducey. Puppybreath (one of Nick Muffet’s roommates) was the name of a man in my field when I was studying library science. And Celerie (David Wiffle’s mother) is the name of a well-known interior designer.

Puns. Ahem: Bill Pickle, Alexei Dropoff, and Noel Updown are plays on words.

So, let’s try a few, shall we? Here are some names I haven’t used yet.

Pettifora Granular
Minimal Tiki
Skiddoo Carbuncle
Ichabod Icing.

Now let’s see what you can do. Please post your experiments in the comments.

Thanks so much! And don’t forget, solvere scelus!!!!