characters1I’ve had a few people ask me about the names and where I came up with them. So here’s a little inside scoop on the frightening things that go on inside this head…

Burnt Mountain – My friend Chris helped me nail this one down. I had come up with several different names and variations, and Chris held me to the “keep it simple, stupid” rule and Burnt Mountain stuck.

The Monster Within (TMW) – My friend Jim helped me with the subtitle piece to not take away from “Burnt Mountain” but to try to add something to it. Plus we knew there was a second book, and I wanted to stick with the primary name of Burnt Mountain, thus the subtitle was born. Plus I had already come up with the subtitle for the second book so I HAD to get one for TMW. This subtitle comes from a reference to Rio and Emma at the end of book one.

Rio – Straight off of a Duran Duran song that I liked.

Kaiser – Mooched it from a friend I worked with in Mississippi who’s last name was Kaiser, and I thought (and still do) it was the coolest last name….second to Campbell of course.

Emma – Emma is just a great name. I also have an aunt with the same name, so this was a tribute to all of my aunts and uncles.

Jody – Mooched this name from one of my Sempai’s in karate class. She is a fantastic person, and I liked her name for the character. I had tried different names for the character, but none of them were a good fit and Jody won.

Toby – This was the name of my first male boxer. I miss that dog.

Colby – Per my mom, I was originally to be named Coby, but that obviously changed when I was born. I still liked the name Coby and morphed it slightly to name one of my characters.

Sebastian – During a week of summer some years ago, I was a camp nurse for a hoard of 55 junior high kids. One of them really stood out in the crowd. His name was Sebas (pronounced Sea Bass). So I borrowed his name and Sebas was born for TMW.

Ethan – Another great name. I have a cousin with the same name, so this was a tribute for all of my cousins….and I have A LOT of them!

Stephen (Ethan’s brother) – This name is a direct mooch from my Sensei’s name.

Riley – This was just a name that I liked and decided to use as a last name.

Colin – Yet another cool name that I wanted to use.

Nate – Had a great-grandfather named Nate, so this was a tribute to my grandparents and great-grandparents. Nate’s weapon of choice, the bo, is a tribute to another of my Sempai’s from karate class who can spin the bo so fast, I’m not kidding, it sounds like a helicopter. One day I’m sure he will have lift off.

Shelley – Borrowed this name from a friend who helped me a lot with learning to write prose.

Fish (Brian Fisher…Shelley’s brother) – I wanted a different sounding name for a character and came up with Fish, which I made up a last name of Fisher for it to go together. Brian was another writer friend that help me develop my prose, so I borrowed his name. Fish is only mentioned in TMW. He has a much bigger role in the sequel, One in the Chamber (OTC).

Mellgren – This is the last name of one of my favorite soccer players for Norway’s Women’s National Team. I have three favorites off the Norway team and they are all retired now. Nordby, Pettersen, and Mellgren. I could only pick one and went with Mellgren. I love to follow all of the women’s national teams, so this was a tribute to all of them.

Georg – The character is based off a friend I made while in England for the first time in 2004. Uwe is from Germany and he is a really nice person that made an impression on me. It was nice seeing him again last year, and I look forward to seeing him again this year.

Wolf – I just had fun with this…a wolf named Wolf. Not real creative, but I got to write the other characters poking fun at Colin for his choice of names.

Magda – I thought this was a neat name. I had been reading a lot of The Hangman’s Daughter series so there was some influence there.

Ilnin – This name is a reference to Lord of the Rings…the books and movies both are fantastic, and this was my Tolkien tribute. I derived the name from Tolkien’s elvish word ilthildin. LOTR fans, you’ll know what that is.

Aven – I used the Avenger’s movie as my PG-13 ruler. And since it is one of my favorite movies, this was my Marvel tribute.

Pete Cole – Just an extra. In my mind, this guy is a clone of Tommy Lee Jones. He too has a much bigger roll in OTC.

The horses’ names: Otter and Briga.  Briga was another Lord of the Rings reference to a horse in that story named Brego. Otter was a tribute to my friend who’s last name is Ottmann.

So if you are a friend or family member and wondering why I didn’t borrow your name, relax. MANY of you went into these characters in some shape or form whether it was a borrowed name or a character trait. One character name is often a tribute to many people. Plus I only had so many characters to work with here. OTC has more characters in it, so I had room to expand on borrowing names. Plus there are more books in me than TMW, OTC, and whatever the third one ends up being called. And this doesn’t include ideas for stories completely unrelated to nasty critters living beneath rural mountains in Maine. And if you decide to pester me about not using your name, I might just use it in a story and then kill off the character. 😉  Man, I love writing!!!


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