Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Hero by Any Other Name

by Debra Jess

Disclaimer: All views expressed in this post are the views of the author and not the views of the SFR Brigade.

Names are important. They can empower or diminish the individual who possesses them. Bestowing a name on your hero can add mystery, describe their physique, or paint a picture of their personality from the moment they walk onto the page. Not all heroes are what their name implies. Some heroes have more than one name.

J.R.R. Tolkien was a master of giving his heroes names. In THE LORD OF THE RINGS, the hero, Aragorn, used many names during his long life: Elessar, Estel, Longshanks, Strider, Thorongil, and Wingfoot. These names sound powerful and hopeful, as they are meant to be, for someone who will fight for the heart and soul of Middle Earth.

The same can be said for modern day characters. Heroes with a dark past might change their names to avoid being found, such as Angel (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER/ANGEL). A hero might go undercover and take on a new identity to avoid capture, like CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS (DOCTOR WHO/TORCHWOOD). The names they choose might not seem to fit them in their attempt to deflect attention from themselves, like Dean and Sam Winchester (SUPERNATURAL).

Sometimes, outsiders decide your hero's name. You will find characters in comic books possessing names not of their own choosing. An infant found by a couple in rural Kansas grows up with the perfectly common name of Clark Kent, given to him by his adoptive parents. Later, he discovers he's from another planet and his biological parents gave him the name, Kal-El. The public, however, decides to call him SUPERMAN or the MAN OF STEEL after he devotes his life to rescuing people in jeopardy.

In my debut novel, BLOOD SURFER, my heroes have multiple names because, like Superman, they are superheroes. Scott Grey has a mysterious past and a complicated family. He chose his own identity. No one, not even his best friend, knows what his real name is. Even when the heroine, whom he's sworn to protect, makes an educated guess at his real name, she gets it wrong despite the pure logic on which she relies. She's quite shocked when she discovers what his real name is and from where he draws his power.

My heroine, on the other hand, believes her name is Hannah Quinn. Her mother gave her that name and she has no reason to question it. Hannah also calls herself "Blood Surfer" because it describes her extraordinary ability to surf through the bloodstream of another human being and cure whatever ails them from the inside. What Hannah doesn't know about herself, her name, and her past, can kill her.

BLOOD SURFER is a Golden Pen award winning story. It can be pre-ordered as an eBook from:

Nook: Coming soon

Print version can be pre-ordered at:

Amazon: Coming soon

Autographed copies will be available through:

You can learn more about Debra Jess's future releases (including more stories from the Thunder City series this fall) by signing up for her newsletter at:

You can follow her at:



A Connecticut Yankee transplanted to Central Florida, Debra Jess writes science fiction, romance, urban fantasy, and superheroes. She began writing in 2006, combining her love of fairy tales and Star Wars to craft original stories of ordinary people in extraordinary adventures and fantastical creatures in out-of-this world escapades. Her manuscripts have won the Golden Pen Award (Paranormal category) and the Golden Palm award (Paranormal/Sci-Fi/Fantasy category).

Debra is a graduate of Viable Paradise and is a member of Codex. She’s also a member of the Romance Writers of America and RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal chapter, the First Coast Romance Writers and she’s the Vice President of the Volusia County Romance Writers.

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