For those of you who don't already know I'm a bit sad. I don't mean sad in the downwards smile sort of way. I mean sad in the geek kind of way. I'm the girl that loves data and everything about it.
So now that's out of the way I should tell you that for the last few years, every time I've read a series romance I've kept notes. I won't tell you all the notes I've kept - that's for another day. But one of the types of information I've kept is a excel spreadsheet of names. Yes - that's right, I put them in a spreadsheet!
Now, what I'm sure you'll already know is that sometimes you come across the strangest names in series romance. Some that you've never even heard of.
I don't know about you but if I come across a name in a story that I can't even say out loud it kind of throws me out the story. It interrupts the flow so to speak - never a good thing.
Then there's the school bully. If I come across their name in a story it doesn't matter how fabulous a hero/heroine they are I'm just never going to warm to them.
This all became important to me when I got my second set of comments back from the New Writers Scheme attached to the RNA. The New Writers Scheme allows an unpublished writer to send in a full manuscript and get comments back from a published writer with comments about improvements. This time, one of the comments I got was that the writer didn't like my heroine's name - Melissa. It irked her. And that intrigued me.
So what are the most popular names for guys?
Alex, Ben, Daniel, Ethan, Jack, James, Luke, Mac, Matt, Max and Nick.
But the runaway success?........is Jake.
And for girls?
Abbie/Abby, Annie, Beth, Ellie, Jenna, Kate, Lily, Madeline, Maggie and Zoe.
And the runaway success for girls?.........is Sophie.
GULP! So first things first. I have to quantify what I read. Romance/Cherish, Modern/Presents, Medicals, Superromance, American Romance with a few historicals thrown in.
Second thing? CRINGE! I've used some of these - Abbie and Luke featured in my second book The Boy Who Made Them Love Again. Lily features in my fourth due out in September A Bond Between Strangers.
So it seems as if I've fell into the trap that other authors have.
What I also find interesting is that I used to work as a health visitor and visited all new babies eleven days after birth. So I became use to name trends. Some years some names were very popular and every second baby seemed to be called that. These names tend to appears a year later in some series romance novels attached to a thirty year old hero or heroine and it makes me cringe.
But what I find most interesting is getting the right name for the right character. When I started writing The Boy Who Made Them Love Again (I called it Pelican Cove, much nicer!) Abbie was originally called Rose.
But Rose didn't work. After Chapter One the book started sticking. Something didn't feel right. So I rewrote chapter one with Abby. And it worked perfectly.
I know it weird and irrational. But I've heard the same from other writers. And some of the names I've used I haven't even particularly liked - they're not the names I would have picked for my children. But they've fitted the character and the stories.
So how do you feel about character names? Any you love, any you hate? Or any that have made you close a book completely?