Names are very important to writers. For example, we were trying to name a Russian noble for RUBY FEVER and it turned out to be a two-hour endeavor. Because Russian Imperium is alive and well in the world of Hidden Legacy, the traditions of dvoryani, Russian aristocracy, are also alive and well, which makes things complicated.
For example, some names are traditionally “farmer” names, like Molchan or Kuzma, and other names were “merchant” names, like Akakiy or Vadim, and yet other names were aristocratic names, like Alexander and Mihail. It gets even more complex from there. If this aristocratic family favors interaction with the West, they might name their child something like Segey or Roman, which is easy to pronounce for English speakers. They could take it a step further and pick a European derivative, like Filip or Artur. Maybe they are populists who purposefully might choose a “farmer” name for political considerations, like Ignat or Timofey. Perhaps they are nationalists and they might select a name associated with the Rurik Dynasty or even a “pagan” name like Yaroslav, Igor, and Ratibor.
So names are important, and overwhelming majority of writers gets stuck on them. With that in mind, naming Julie’s eagle took a while. The original name was Nasru, which literally meant eagle in Akkadian, but it also meant vulture in some languages, so we scrapped it. We went with Abra instead, which was a butchered version of something like soar. We wanted a strong name that indicated the eagle’s predatory drive and general awesomeness.
Except I kept mistyping and mispronouncing the name.
Gordon: Will you pick one spelling and stick to it?
Me: I can’t. I keep defaulting to Amra in my head.
For those of you who don’t read Howard, Amra was Conan’s pirate name. It means “Lion” in Howard’s universe.
Gordon: Let’s just change it.
Me: Look what about Turkan? It’s a variation of Tarkhan, a title used by a variety of Central Asian people. It sounds badass and it nods at the Mongolian practice of eagle hunting. He is a golden eagle and that’s the primary bird the eagle hunters use.
We decided that Turkan was the one. We tried the more phonetic spelling of Toorkan, but it seemed awkward so Turkan it was. The name was painstakingly replaced from Amra to Turkan.
During beta read:
Friend: Hey, so you might want to change the eagle’s name.
Me: OMFG. Why?
Friend: Because it sounds like Turken.
It only sounds like Turken if you are an English speaker. Russian default to an uh sound at the end, because that’s the way khan is pronounced….
Me to Stefanie, our proofreader: We need a global replace to from Turkan to Turgan, because of this.
She: Oh. Okay, will do.
Gordon: Why are we changing the name again? Can we move on past the damn name?
I now present to you the reason why the mighty raptor who soars gracefully above post-Shift Atlanta is now named Turgan.
Tell us your funny name stories in the comments. We can’t be the only ones with egg on our faces.