There were two alternatives for naming the Neanderthal people in SONG HUNTER: I could either use meaningless words like Kalgot, Bonzol or Smutch; or I could name the people after things they found around them in their valley.
I decided to do the latter, and to make it easier for my readers to keep track of who is who I decided on to split the names very obviously between the women and the men. The men I named after animals: Elk, Bear, Lynx, and the outsider Seal. That was easy.
The women had to be named after something else - but the trouble was that they don’t really have much else. There is grass and reeds and a few low shrubby trees.
Stars, the sun, the sky, the clouds. Shadows. Ice. Snow. Rocks.
Plenty of rocks.
Pebbles has already been taken as a name for a stoneage little girl; and Boulder, Flint, Quartz and Gravel don’t sound much like girls. But there are prettier stones that my people might have come across: Pearl, Mica, Amber, Garnet.
Once I had their names they began to speak to me.