The rules mostly concerned names for islanders. To match the names found on a real Caribbean island (i.e., North Caicos), I followed generational tendencies: on North, people of about my age were given Biblical names (Joshua, Ruth, Agnes, Michael) or ones that sound vaguely British and classy (Farrington, Ashton, Patriminda, Chalmers). With the younger people come the African-sounding Shanika, Tekora, Kenrick and Javon. So I have Iona and John running shops on East Taino, and Ezekiel and Cynthia have a daughter named Dashiki.
Nicknames are big on North Caicos, especially for men. Among the guys I know are Poacher, Whoop, Juice and Cheez. So I gave East Taino Stag, Cleve, Manny and Meat (Cheez ... Meat, get it?), and Ezekiel is known as either Zeke or Z.
My white characters are mostly Americans, so for them I just tried to evoke age and personality. Liz, the artist, is also called Lizard. Phyllis, a retired teacher, is usually Phyl (and a name borrowed from a John Updike novel I was reading at the time). The name Cherry sounded young to me, so she's the videographer. I wanted my villain to be WASPish and rich but also flamboyant, so I came up with Benny Royston, using the last name of a guy I worked with years ago.
Other minor characters and mentions have common names like Mark, Ron, Bill and Ed. Mostly this doesn't mean much. Sure, I know three Rons on North Caicos; this one is none of them. But in other cases my names are personal nods to various friends: Cynthia, Chip, Dan ... yeah, that's you, and each of those characters has a trace of you.
Where I really had fun was with characters named in passing. Two lawyers mentioned -- Mr. Koren and Mr. Minnich -- have the last names of a colleague and a friend of my husband. I gave Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Michael Paul Williams a brief cameo as Mike Williams, the local newspaper's attorney. And North Caicos friend B Naqqi Manco will certainly recognize himself ... though as "Nacky" and with another nationality and a slightly different job.
If you're getting a picture of me chuckling to myself as I type, you're absolutely right. But hey, writing a novell is a long, solitary process. I'll take my laughs where I can get them.