Monday, July 18, 2011

What's in a Name?

Posted by: J.K. Coi
I once saw this very old movie called Amelia and the Angel, for a class. It’s a very amateurish movie by a photographer named Ken Russell that was made by the BBC in 1958. There really wasn’t anything extra special about it except that the photography was really good, and the name-Amelia and the Angel-kind of stuck with me.

It was about a young girl who has gotten the part of an angel in her school play, but her wings are broken and she needs to find a new pair. She sees a woman, an angel, and follows her into a dark building, upstairs into the attic where Amelia finally gets the wings she's been looking for.

When I sat down to write FALLING HARD (which is available TODAY by the way!) this movie came back to me and I knew my angel’s name had to be Amelia. It’s funny how names come to you sometimes and just fit perfectly with the world you’re trying to create. Even the opening of the book was originally a scene with Amelia ascending a set of stairs in an old apartment building, her black leather trench coat flaring out behind her. At the top of the stairs she finds herself walking a dark and dingy corridor, approaching a room at the end of the hall.

This scene represented the beginning of my Angel’s journey to find herself and really earn her wings. (Yes, she technically has wings already, but there’s a metaphor there, I promise.)

Sadly, I cut the scene from the final version (it was really more of a Prologue, and we all know how editors feel about those), but as a special treat for Release Day you’ll be able to find it as an extra on my website, here.

Gabriel was another story. Traditionally, the Archangel Gabriel is known as the Messenger of God, and in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, he was the angel set to guard Paradise and when he found Satan there, he ordered him to leave. In Falling Hard, my hero carries Lucifer’s soul, and that was such a great burden to bear that I wanted him to have the name Gabriel as a counterpoint to the darkness inside him.

As a reader, how often do you read a book and really think about what the characters names mean? Have you ever thought the character in something you’re reading doesn’t suit the name he or she was given? As an author, do you put a lot of thought into naming characters and do you really think your readers notice?

To celebrate Release Day, I’ll be giving away a copy of FALLING HARD to a randomly chosen commenter here, but I’m also blogging at The Vauxhall Vixens, Maria Zannini’s blog, Julia Knight’s blog and the Romance Writers Revenge, and there will be chances to win on Twitter and Facebook.

Come Celebrate with me!


After a life filled with tragedy, rocker Gabriel Gunn thinks he's finally getting the better of his personal demons. Then he's attacked after a concert—and rescued by a warrior goddess brandishing a sword and white wings. As hard as it is to believe in an angelic bodyguard, Gabriel must face an even more impossible truth: he carries the devil's soul within him.

Amelia has been watching over Gabriel for years, using her angelic powers to prevent Lucifer's return. Now she must also protect him from warring angel factions with their own agendas. Amelia would do anything to avert another angelic war, even sacrifice her own emotions to avoid temptation. Yet with Gabriel she feels things she no longer wants to deny, and pleasure she never imagined.

But the closer Gabriel and Amelia get, the stronger Lucifer becomes. Will Amelia be forced to kill the man she's come to love to stop the war she's always feared?

J.K. Coi is a multi-published, award winning author of contemporary and paranormal romance and urban fantasy. She makes her home in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and son and a feisty black cat who is the uncontested head of the household. While she spends her days immersed in the litigious world of insurance law, she is very happy to spend her nights writing dark and sexy characters who leap off the page and into readers’ hearts.



  1. What an intriguing idea! Talk about conflict.

    And woohoo!!! Happy release day :)

  2. Thanks, Jenny!! I'm so excited!

  3. I do it quite a lot actually. Names and their meanings are extremely important to me--it's one of the first things, I believe, that defines your character. Or at least, I have come to realize my name and its meaning defines who I am to some degree. :)

    And as for choosing names when I write, I usually flip through a baby naming book and sound out names. Something that sounds good on the lips; something I'd enjoy saying or makes a good nickname. But of course, the meaning must reflect my character's a balance. *LOL*

  4. LOL
    I'm known for my funky names (Tavos, Alvar, Hagen) but yes, I do put a lot of thought into them... well, maybe I don't. I try quite a few names, and eventually one will feel just right.

    I got a sneak of Falling Hard, and it is definitely one of the best stories I've read in the past couple of years. That opening scene alone... wow.

  5. Thanks Kimber!! I'm so happy you liked it. And I love talking character names. So much fun!

  6. Was that the same Ken Russell who directed "Women in Love" etc?

    Congrats on your release. :-)

  7. I'm looking forward to reading your book! I think about names quite a bit. One book I wrote, the heroine's name is Alethia, which in Greek, means truth. The hero called her True (Nas Fíor) as a nickname based upon her character and her name.
    I love tie ins and symbology like Gabriel's name. Great post and blurb. Happy release!


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