When one writes a novel or a series, one has to make up the names of the main characters. There are all sorts of reasons one names the main characters particular names. I could probably name a hundred reasons, but for this post I will only name the reasons why I named my main characters—the prodigal band members and their women and a few others—what I named them.
I came up with these names for the most part in the mid-60s, but instead of a ‘prodigal’ rock band, they and the girls that hung out with them were a clique or a gang of sorts, and were ‘locals,’ fictitious teens living on Long Island which is where I grew up. They had no particular ethnicity or religion, but were as if they were the same kind of teens as the actual teens where I lived, and where I lived the population was almost all white (a few blacks or Hispanics or Asians where I lived), about 40 percent Italian and about 20 percent Jewish, with the rest being a mix of mostly northern Europeans (mostly German, British, French, Polish, Scandinavian, Czech, Slovak, or Russian). The most common boy’s names were John or Jack, Tom, Pete, Joe, Bob, Bill, Mike…typical common boys names. In fact, the surnames for the band members didn’t really come up until the latter 60s when the clique turned into a rock and roll band—a band from England, a year or two before I actually visited England as a high school graduation gift, along with the friend who suggested this trip, who happened to be Jewish (but not religious about it).
Three of the band characters have very common first names: Jack, Tom and Mick (who was originally named Mike, but the name ‘Mick’ is more common in England…and a lot of Brit rockers are named Mick, not just Jagger either.) Since a ‘gang’ leader locally that I knew was named Jack, I named the band leader and lead guitarist Jack (and for some strange reason, I made his surname ‘Lubin,’ which sounds Jewish; Jack is not Jewish, however. In Chapter Twelve of The Prodigal Band he even admits this—during a conversation relating to the Bible he said he had no interest in the Old Testament:
“…That’s for Jews, right? I’m not a Jew and I never will be…”)
I named the drummer Tom, because toms are part of a typical drum set. The character Mick came later, in the early 80s; Mick is a very common name for British rockers. Their surnames, Cornsby and Pordengreau, are very uncommon however, but both surnames exist. There is a town somewhere in Britain named Cornsby or something like it that I saw on a map once. The name Pordengreau is from Normandy, and since the Normans conquered Britain…
Two other boy’s names are fairly common in England: Bryan and Keith. Both names are fairly common among rockers, Keith moreso. Both are names that have been around in English history for a long time and are likely of Celtic origin; the spelling of Bryan with a ‘y’ instead of an ‘i’ is more common there. Also, I had a cousin through adoption named Brian, but the ‘y’ version made more sense. Keyboard-synthist Bryan—usually called Bry—has the surname McClellan, a very common Scottish name with various spellings. Bassist Keith’s last name is Mullock, very uncommon, but sounds similar to common surnames such as Bullock or Mollock, which is the name of his distant ancestor (who married Morwenna in 1136 and thus brought about Keith’s talented musician clan…and has nothing to do with the Biblical Canaanite false god Molloch!).
And then there is Erik, singer-frontman. That name was chosen because it’s one of my favorite boy’s names, and I prefer the ‘k’ ending to the ‘c’ ending—I have this fondness for Viking history and did school research once on the founder of Greenland, Erik the Red, who was also the father of an explorer in North America, Leif Erikson. And his mother is from Norway… His last name is Manning, a very common surname which was common in the high school I attended as well.
Were any of these names divinely inspired? I’d have to say no. I chose these names on my own.
While the boy’s names are mostly common, the girl’s names are mostly uncommon and perhaps even non-existent. Jack’s girl-later-wife is named Laurie, a common name and also another name of a cousin. Her last name is Koolig, which sounds Latvian—my grandparents on my mother’s side had Latvian friends with a very similar surname. Bryan’s girl/wife is named Maureen, maiden named Ferguson, both common British names, but I call her ‘Mo’ which is short for Maureen (and is easier to type). Erik’s girl-later-wife is named Ger, and her name was originally Geri, but again, I wanted to shorten the name, easier to type. Her surname is Manilow, another common surname (and has nothing to do with the singer named Barry Manilow, either). And finally, Keith’s girl/wife is named Jarris, which as far as I know does not exist; it was originally ‘Janis’ but when I would write that name in pen on paper, it somehow came out ‘Jarris.’ I will say this, folks: my handwriting leaves much to be desired! Thank God for computer keyboards! I never would have been able to manually type the manuscripts on a typewriter! (I would have had to hire my mother, a stenographer, to do it, but by then, she had passed on if you know what I mean. If dead mothers could type… Bwahahahahahahahahah!)
On to a couple more characters. The band’s managers are named Billy (Prestin, the original manager, and Hallslip, the road manager) and Joe (Phillips, the manager later on right before the band got a recording contract). It’s easy to remember very common male names. And then there is ‘the witch,’ Morwenna, with a very Celtic name from very Celtic stock (being the daughter of an aristocratic family originally, who evolved into a spirit being. And finally, the angels are called ‘the Tooters.’ For that is what angels within the Book of Revelation do announcing the end-times scenarios—blow trumpets. Toot.
My next post will come shortly and will be an entire post listing all of the ‘hows’ in writing The Prodigal Band Trilogy, parts one through five.
Use the menu above to purchase the books (Bookstore) or download the FREE PDF “The Prodigal Band.” There is also a link to all snippet posts and another link to a page about the trilogy characters.
The Prodigal Band Trilogy © 2019 by Deborah Lagarde, Battle of the Band © 1996 by Deborah Lagarde, The Prophesied Band © 1998 by Deborah Lagarde and The Prodigal Band © 2018 by Deborah Lagarde. Permission needed to copy any materials off this page.