A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post on my process for coming up with characters (why they are that animal, where the name came from, references to other pop culture stuff) I thought it would be fun to open up my old notes and share some of the behind the scenes info. Warning: there may be some mild spoilers for Super Penguin in this post. Reader Beware!
Annie Freese–A LOT of thought went into creating Annie. Not only is she the hero’s best friend, but I have BIG plans for her in book two and beyond. I had those plans front of mind when I created Super Penguin’s best friend. The name “Annie Freese” is a play on the word “antifreeze”, nothing more than a silly pun, but one that usually gets a giggle. I chose a polar bear for Super Penguin’s best friend, to represent unlikely friendships. Not only is there a big size difference between the two animals, but in the “real world” it’s nearly impossible for polar bears and penguins to ever meet in the wild. Polar bears live in the northern hemisphere, and wild penguins only live south of the equator.
Tom Trunk–Thomas’s full name is Thomas T. Trunk, a reference to Spider-Man’s antagonist and Peter Parker’s boss J. Jonah Jameson. Like Jameson, Trunk runs the newspaper that employs the hero (though Frost is a writer and Parker a photographer). I picked an elephant because of their power and size, but also because they aren’t the most intimidating creatures (which becomes important in a few scenes when he goes toe to toe with Annie)
Sampson “Sam” Hart–While I believe I put the most thought into Annie, the character that took me the longest amount of time to name was the team-leading lion, Sam Hart. I knew pretty early on that I wanted this character to be a lion. I’m probably heavily influenced by The Lion King‘s Mufasa, but to me, lions are a symbol of strength and leadership. When it came time to name the lion, I struggled. For the longest time, his placeholder name was “Zeus.” Why Zeus? Because I hated the name, but knew when it came time to enter the Find and Replace functions into my manuscript, it wouldn’t cause problems with similarly spelled words. I kept Zeus as the name and started working on the lion’s backstory. I came up with the idea for the lion to fall from power, and his fall would be at the hands of his love interest, who would later turn out to be working with the main antagonist. If you know your Bible stories, you’ve probably already made the connection but for those that haven’t, the lion is named after Sampson from the story of Sampson and Delilah. Sam’s backstabbing love interest is, of course, named Lyla. Sam’s last name “Hart” is proudly a Care Bears reference. I watched quite a bit of Care Bears as a child, and one of my favorite characters from the show was Brave Heart Lion. He’s pictured below in all of his 90s cartoon glory. Cut out the “e” and you have Sam’s last name, “Hart”
That’s all for character names this week, but I will do it again! Leave me a comment below or on the social media link for any characters you’d like me write about the next time I do this!
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