Ask any author how they pick character names and you’ll get many different answers. It depends on the mood of the book. The demeanor of the character. Time period. Location. The list goes on, but you get the point. Picking the right name is important, no matter how you come up with it.
For me, the name comes to me as I’m fleshing out my hero and heroine. A name usually pops into my head and I can see the connection. Not a very scientific means to coming up with a name, but it works for me. I know authors who will study the meaning behind the name they chose. Or others who use names of family or friends.
I have The Writer’s Digest Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I have to admit, I enjoy flipping through it for pleasure more than as a resource I can turn to at the beginning of each book. Names from different cultures are interesting to me. Only once did I ever use the book to come up with specific names for characters in a book I haven’t gotten around to writing yet, but I keep it beside my computer just in case.
So which names are popular today? Here’s a few. For the girls; Olivia, Emma, Sophia, Mia and Isabella. For boys; Liam, Noah, Asher, Finn, and Oliver.
How about at the turn of the century? Mary, Helen, Anna, Margaret and Ruth. John, William, James, George and Charles.
Quite a difference. The year I was born, popular girl names were Mary, Linda, Susan, or Karen. Definitely not Tara, but what can I say, my mother and grandmother loved Gone With the Wind!
For my July release, Magnolia Bride, I came up with the heroine's name from my job in a dentist office. It clicked with me and I knew I'd use it in a book one day.
So readers, how do you connect to the name of certain characters? Do you have a favorite name from a well-loved book? Have you named a child after a favorite literary character?
And, if you were going to write a book, which name would you use? I can’t wait to see what you come up with.