Thorvaldor: I remember that I came up with both the name of the country of The False Princess and the name of the capital city pretty quickly. I like the strong sounds of Thorvaldor, but also that they aren't sharp. Also, the play on the word “valor.”
Vivaskari: I wanted the name of the capital city to sound bright and glittery. Something that would match the way Sinda would see it in her head once she was forced to leave it. Managed to work in the same sounds as “vivid,” which I like.
Treb: Treb is named to sound as different from Vivaskari as possible. The ultimate bumpkin town, one that you would never even think to visit, much less live in.
Isidros: In some ways, Isidros is slightly misnamed. It has a very Greek sound to it, while nothing else in the world really does, except, perhaps, to a lesser extent, the name Philantha. I think it has that Greek sound because it's where the oracle lives, and that made me immediately jump to Delphi, etc. I named it so early on, though, that I never could go back and change it.
Mika: For such a short little name, Mika's name gave me more fits than probably anyone's in the book, even Sinda's. I just couldn't settle on a name for the girl who is actually the princess, the name that she's grown up with and that she—and I, actually—see as her real name. I knew I wanted it to be short, almost insignificant sounding, something that would have been given to her to help hide her true nature. Finally, I came up with Mika. I like that the first syllable is “meek” because that's something that is and is not true of her. She's good at keeping her head down, at staying hidden, but she's also fiery and quick to express her opinions. There's a tension in her name, one that reflects the tension of her personality, and that of her hidden nature.
Orianne: I wanted the name of the girl who replaces Sinda, but isn’t actually the princess, to be really princessy. Something soft sounding and very beautiful, almost calming. I also wanted it to be even “classier”, if that make sense, than the name Nalia—Melaina would have made sure that her daughter had an awesome name. FYI: Orianne is doesn’t end with the same sound as the name Anne, but with a soft a in the third syllable: “Or-ee-ahn.”
Funny story about this name. Apparently my husband would happily name a daughter this if we had one. Which I totally get, because I think it’s a beautiful name. But I keep picturing trying to explain to a kid that mommy and daddy named her after a character that mommy killed off . . . .
Melaina: Melaina wants to be queen. Since she can't be, she wants the next best thing, which is for her daughter to be queen. So I wanted her to have a name that sounded fairly regal. Melaina's also very sure of herself, and of what she views as her family's rightful place in Thorvaldor. So I wanted her name to have strong sounds to reflect that.
Neomar: Neomar has a name that is, in many ways, a red herring. Knowing that Sinda was going to see him as a suspect for the conspiracy, I wanted him to have a name that might lend itself toward people distrusting him. Thus, you have a name whose syllables read “new bad.” Also, the rather clipped, harsh sound of the name indicts that he's not going to be really nice, even though he isn't the actual Big Bad.
While we're on the subject of names, though, there's one thing other about the book that's interested me in terms of names. I've been interested to see how many people call Sinda or Mika or Orianne by the name of Nalia. It's a little odd to me, because only Mika is really named Nalia, and she is only called that once or twice in the whole book. And I never even think of her as Nalia.
It's not a bad thing, just not something I had anticipated because, for me, it ended up that no one was really named Nalia. It became a name attached to all three girls, but one that wasn't really any of theirs.