What’s in a name? Why is it so difficult to decide what to call someone? Cliff and I didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl, but wanted to see the baby before naming it. When red haired, blue-eyed Carla was born, we gave her the middle name Beth, as my mother had requested before she passed away. When our black-haired, black-eyed second daughter came along, she looked spunky and we named her Krista. Not sure how Lynn, her middle name, happened, but it went together nicely. Today, many babies are given funky names that, unfortunately, they have to live with.
Naming the characters in my books is a big deal because it’s a series. It takes me a long time to choose a name. It has to feel right. I considered using a big X in place of a name while I continued writing, but that didn’t work because the name has to fit the character’s gestures, reactions, and traits. If I need a bland person, then I will give him/her a vanilla name. My main characters have to have names I love and are unforgettable for the reader because I plan on them being around for a while. There are names I’ve read in books that I love but don’t use because I would have that character in mind instead of my own.
The main character in my series has to have a memorable name and easy to pronounce. Cait Pepper, an ex-cop/crime analyst, is impatient, honest, claustrophobic, determined, and a romantic. Think of Stana Katic (Detective Kate Beckett) on the TV show Castle.
The name Royal Tanner, a Navy SEAL in my series, popped into my head one day. Friends call him RT. It’s a strong name for someone in a position of command. My readers say it’s an easy name to remember. Or maybe it’s because they think he’s a hunky guy and a touch of a romantic. He’s definitely here to stay.
My secondary characters get as much attention as the main characters, unless the reader won’t see them more than once or twice. Then I refer to them for the job they do, such as “the clerk” or “technician.” Fumié Ondo is a Japanese-American college graduate waiting to become a park ranger. I combined the first and last names of professional ice skaters. She’s a keeper.
The chocolate lab who makes his first appearance in the second book in my series, is called Niki because my niece’s husband said I had to name him after his lab. We’ve had two Schnauzers. My husband named the first one Archimedes after the Greek mathematician. We called him Archie. The second one came to us with the name Abbey.
For my work in progress, I’m struggling over names for a brother-sister team who are in trouble over drug dealings at their winery. I may have to use that X factor I mentioned above.