Of course, I left the bar as soon as I could; Bob, impressively, is writing legal thrillers while still practicing full time as a defense attorney. His first McMurtrie & Drake novel, The Professor, was praised by Winston Groom, author of Forrest Gump (a gold-plated endorsement in the South!) and sold so well Bob was scooped up by Thomas & Mercer. In a special offer celebrating the publication today of Between Black and White, you can download The Professor for only $2.00. You'll probably want to pick up Between Black and White as well:
In 1966 in Pulaski, Tennessee, Bocephus Haynes watched in horror as his father was brutally murdered by ten local members of the Ku Klux Klan. As an African American lawyer practicing in the birthplace of the Klan years later, Bo has spent his life pursuing justice in his father’s name. But when Andy Walton, the man believed to have led the lynch mob forty-five years earlier, ends up murdered in the same spot as Bo’s father, Bo becomes the prime suspect.
Retired law professor Tom McMurtrie, Bo’s former teacher and friend, is a year removed from returning to the courtroom. Now McMurtrie and his headstrong partner, Rick Drake, must defend Bo on charges of capital murder while hunting for Andy Walton’s true killer. In a courtroom clash that will put their reputations and lives at stake, can McMurtrie and Drake release Bo from a lifetime of despair? Or will justice remain hidden somewhere between black and white?
Tom Joad, Atticus Finch, Darby Shaw, Jake Brigance, Penn Cage, Jane Rizzoli, Lucas Davenport, John Corey, Daisy Buchanan, Harry Bosch, Kinsey Millhone, Mickey Haller, Katniss Everdeen, Elvis Cole…What is it about a character’s name that immediately pulls you in?
As a reader, writer and a watcher of film, one of the things I have always been fascinated by is character names. Where do authors and screenwriters get their names? What is it about a name that just works for that character? For example…Han Solo. Hear it one time and the first thing I think is…COOL. Can you imagine his name being anything else? It’s perfect.
During book club events, I am often asked how I come up with character names, and the answer is complicated. Sometimes I have a specific reasoning that goes into it. With Tom McMurtrie—full name Thomas Jackson McMurtrie—I wanted the character to have a strong, southern name that felt iconic when read out loud, so I named him after General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. For Rick Drake, my reasoning was simpler. I picked the first and last names of two very good friends of mine and went with it.
Probably my favorite name in the McMurtrie & Drake series is Bocephus Haynes, which popped into my head one day when I started thinking about a story featuring an African American lawyer in Pulaski, Tennessee, whose quest is to bring the members of the Ku Klux Klan who murdered his father to justice. How did this name happen? As a fan of Hank Williams, Jr., I was certainly familiar with the nickname that his father gave him. Also, my younger brother’s name is Bo and my mom and dad had many times affectionately referred to him as “Bocephus.” Additionally, I had just watched the movie “Gladiator” for the umpteenth time, where Emperor Marcus Aurelius plays a key role. Finally, I wanted the name of this character to invoke affection, awe and perhaps even a little fear. Somehow, in the midst of that cacophony of ideas and thoughts, the name “Bocephus Aurulius Haynes” appeared on the page.
What is your favorite name of a character in fiction or movies? Why do you think that name is a perfect fit?
Robert Bailey is the author of Between Black and White releasing March 15, 2016 by Thomas & Mercer. His debut novel, “The Professor,” won the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award for legal thriller of the year and was an Amazon bestseller, spending several weeks at #1 in the legal thriller category. You can find more about Robert and the McMurtrie &Drake series at his website; friend him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter as @RBaileyBooks and discuss books with him at Goodreads.