Back in the 1980s, a friend and I used to pick categories and compete to pick the best choice for a name or thing that fit. The category might be “best name for a grunge rock group,” or “best name for a high performance sports car,” etc. We would drink a beer and toss our best guesses at each other. Fun.
One day we decided on “best name for a country western singer.” After several tries and a lot of laughs, I came up with Bascolm Traskett.
I never felt I got the right name. Christopher. Chris. Maybe it was because my name wasn’t popular for boys in the 1950s. The only Chris people I knew, other than me, were female. I don’t know. I never had a name in mind that I wanted, I just never felt Chris should be my name.
The upshot is, names are very important to me when I write a story. Sometimes I change names multiple times until I believe each character got the correct one. In Difficult Lies, Bascolm Traskett became a New York state highway patrolman who finds himself in a coma with Allan Vickery, my protagonist. Bascolm is a very important character, even though his major presence is in the first quarter, if that, of the novel. He teaches ‘Vic’ how to hit a golf ball properly, and that knowledge fuels the rest of the story.
I’m thankful I wasn’t a child of Frank Zappa’s. Chris never felt right, but it’s so much preferable to Dweezle.