My A-Z theme this year is a guide to my trilogy of novels called ‘The State Trilogy’. Set in an unnamed island country known only as ‘The State’, in the imagined near future, the books follow the intertwining stories of a number of characters, principally a State police detective named Danny Samson and an assassin, Gabriella Marino, over a period of six years. It begins with the assassination of an elected official and spirals into revolution and civil war. Part political thriller, action story, war story and dystopian science fiction, the trilogy took three years to complete and the books are available to read now – you can find links to purchase them HERE

In The State Trilogy, ‘N’ stands for:

Nuclear: The background to the trilogy is the First Strike War, a global conflict that has been ongoing for half a century. Nuclear armament has continued between the superpowers of the Civil American States and the Zhonghua Republic, and other countries around the globe have their own arsenals. A nuclear attack on the Civil American States that destroys Billings, Montana is the first strike that starts the war. The Civil American States blame the Zhonghua Republic for the attack and allies of the two super powers are drawn into the war. The nuclear fallout splits the Civil American States in two, the east and west coasts, while the middle remains a nuclear fallout wasteland that no one is permitted to enter. In retaliation for the initial attack, the States and their Allies launch retaliatory nuclear attacks on the Axis Powers, and the world continues to live under the fear of further nuclear missile strikes. The reality of the initial nuclear attack, fifty years after it occurred, comes under question from Phillips and others, and is one of the reasons that sparks the civil war in the State. Conversely, nuclear energy production has stopped. Not mentioned in the books, I figured that energy from renewable, natural sources will eventually mean the need for nuclear energy is reduced, and perhaps another nuclear accident has put governments off investing in it. This may indeed be part of the trouble leading to the energy crisis that affects the globe in the future.

Names: Character names served a variety of purposes in the books. Some had some pretty obvious connotations: Daniel Samson as in the biblical Samson story, a man fighting his powerful enemies; Chancellor Lucinda Romanès – literally an Emperor of Ancient Rome; a corrupt politician called Donald… Other names were used to give a sense of place. Although the setting of the story is never named there are plenty of Scottish names in the Wilderness and Central City – Kyle, Lachlan, Eilidh, Rona, Isla and so on – to give the idea that this is a future Scotland. I also introduced names based on other countries to convey the idea that others have moved into the State and populations around the globe have migrated, for example Lars and Henrik James (Scandinavia) Mattias and Kruger (Germanic), Jai Li (Asian) Hassan (Middle Eastern). I was also careful not to stereotype these names, so a good mix of good and bad on both sides. A couple of other reasons for name choices: Montana Childe (known as Tania) is named in memory of Montana by her parents after the nuclear attack destroys the state in America. Phillips was chosen as the sort of anonymous cover name an agent would use (think of James Bond or George Smiley or Jack Ryan). And Maxine was chosen to be shortened to the masculine Max deliberately, and is also a nod to the original Mission: Impossible film. Choosing names with hidden meanings and connotations is a good way to add some layers to the characters and story, and is also good fun giving little nods to other things, and perhaps one or two people I know in real life may have noticed their names popping up too!

Next up – O is for: Oppression

All the entries in the A-Z of ‘The State Trilogy’ can be found HERE

The books are available from a wide selection of online retailers, including AMAZON

26 thoughts on “THE STATE TRILOGY A-Z GUIDE: N

  1. Unfortunately, I find it highly credible that even after all that people would still be resisting nuclear disarmament. Sad fact of human nature. Also, cool about character names! I didn’t even catch that. Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you – the good thing is it doesn’t matter if the reader picks up on the character names, sometimes they’re just a little bit of fun for the author! The resistance to nuclear disarmament is a really strange one – why would you not be for it? Also, another factor in the Scottish independence debate, as British government insist on keeping nuclear submarine base in Scotland, which doesn’t want them!


  2. I’m back and planning to go through all your posts. It is so hard to read other posts as I’m finding my own are taking more time. I find your posts very interesting when I get to read them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Linda, it is difficult to try and keep up reading so many A-Z blogs during the month. Glad you are finding the posts interesting and look forward to you returning – they won’t be going anywhere 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hari OM
    Oh, don’t get me started on the nuclear debate… (can you sense the clenched jaw, the narrowed eyes and furrowed brow??!!) Being just ‘doon the watter’ frae the stockpile I have been asked why would I live in D…n. My response is – if it goes up, I don’t want to be around to see the results. That they are being added to just doesn’t make sense. I shall be intrigued even more to get to reading these books. YAM xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, I don’t specifically go into the Scotland situation, but it’s there in the background of the story. Another big factor in the upcoming election. And increasing them is just senseless, even more than that it’s actually insane!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Choosing names when there are so many characters can’t be easy! I agree they shouldn’t be stereotypical, but they do have to stand out from one another and give a small nod to their background. You’ve done that well, Iain!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey! Really interesting about your choice of names. Everyone who writes fiction has to name characters, and probably we all do it in different ways and for different reasons. It is interesting to read about your approach to this (sometimes quite challenging) problem. When I am doing historical stuff, I research, sometimes fairly extensively, what names were common at that place and time. Eventually, one will pop out at me, and I’ll use it. When I am doing more modern stuff, I just mutter names to myself, and try out how they sound, and go slightly mad, and then generally go with the best of whatever list I have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The good thing about writing a future story is you can do whatever you want with the names, with history it has to be much more accurate. Thanks for stopping by 🙂


  6. Whaaaat??? A nuclear attack destroys Montana?? Say it isn’t so!! 😱 My “Shangri-La” is in Montana… an area in the Bitterroot Valley where I lived for part of my childhood. I return there now and then, when I need to escape the rat race. (In fact, I plan to go there this summer.)

    About names… for the screenplay I’m working on now, part of it takes place in Scotland (1850s) so I’ve had fun looking up Scottish names with meanings that fit those characters. (That was part of the reason I went to Scotland in 2019… research!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry! I did apologise in my ‘B’ post to the people of Montana, as it was Billings specifically that took the main hit! It was purely fictional and a plot device and no offense was intended! The Scottish screenplay sounds intriguing. Where did you visit? Did you stop by Glasgow (my home city)?


      1. I spent 10 days in Dundee to attend a writer’s retreat, and then spent a week exploring Edinburgh and communities to the east of there, especially along the coast (Prestonpans, Port Seton) since my ancestors came from that area, I also visited Inverness and Isle of Skye. Altogether, I was in Scotland three weeks, but, sadly, I didn’t get to Glasgow.

        My husband joined me during the last week there and fell in love with Scotland, too. We both hope to return.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I hadn’t picked up the lack of nuclear power generation, although it’s an interesting thought that it could be replaced if natural sources are properly harnessed. Some notable big challenges to get past being nuclear being regarded as “clean” and people’s NIMBYism with regard to wind turbines being just a couple. We can but hope…

    A-Zing from Fiction Can Be Fun
    Normally found at Debs Despatches

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, although the wind turbine one seems to have lessoned a bit – certainly here in Scotland, where we are fortunate that our climate means the weather can be relied upon to provide energy!

      Liked by 1 person

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