For my next project, I was trying to choose the name of my lead female character. I went with Mona until my daughter’s best friend said she doesn’t like the name. Then I changed it to Moyna (which is the Bengali pronunciation of the word Mynah, the bird). It sounds softer and somehow cuter, more innocent. But people not only hear the name in their head as they read it, they also have preferences for how a word looks!
My daughter and her friend preferred the spelling Moina rather than Moyna. This led to a survey of about 20 people of different ethnicities and backgrounds. Interestingly, people from India and Philippines overwhelmingly liked Moyna. People who grew up in America liked Moina, but didn’t dislike Moyna.
So, Moyna Sengupta, it is.
For the male lead, I toyed with the name Suraj (Sun) versus Sooraj. I thought it’s a lovely name, but my family didn’t like it much for that particular character. After going through a list, which included the common ones: Rahul, Rajat, Arjun, Raj, Amar…we settled on Sameer. (For some reason, Samir didn’t make the cut, but Sameer did).
Choosing the last name was harder. I played around with Singh, Kumar, Sharma, Basu. So, back to the survey: Singhania got the highest votes.
So, the male lead is going to be Sameer Singhania.
Which brings me to the other characters in the book: Which one do you prefer for last names?
Cantoni or Mansoni
Castillo or Sanchez
Garrett or Fairbanks
Evette or Yvette
Priya or Preeti
Armand or Giovanni
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Sunanda Chatterjee is a practicing physician in Southern California. When she is not by the microscope making diagnoses, she loves to write fiction.