Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Writer's Wednesday - What's In A Name?

We're delighted to welcome back Janie Crouch to the Pink Heart Society as she talks about those all important character names...

Coming up with character names is one of the most fun aspects of writing, but can sometimes be the most difficult. I love to name a character after a friend or family member. To me, it is the ultimate tribute. Three out of the four heroines in the Omega Sector books were named after three of my best friends: Sophia, Megan and Shelby. Super exciting to give these heroines quirks and strengths that reminded me of my besties! 

But naming a character can also be difficult sometimes. 

For instance, for Omega Sector Book 3: Untraceable, I didn’t want to name the heroine after anyone I knew because of the character’s particularly traumatizing past. I found it difficult enough to write about things like that happening to a fictional stranger. The thought of linking that past to someone I knew was just too hard. Thus, Juliet was born, since I knew no one with that name. Juliet developed her own grit and strength throughout the story and became one of my favorite characters of all time.

My heroes? Honestly, I’m just looking for strong, alpha male names: Cameron, Sawyer, Evan, Dylan, Conner. Love them all. I have borrowed last names from friends: Branson, Perigo, Karcz, Keelan. 

As for other characters, all I can say is watch out if you’re one of my Facebook friends or someone connected to me on Twitter. Without fail, scrolling through those sites are where I get 90% of my supporting character and villain names.

The most interesting way I’ve found a name has been by my “Name a Character After Your Loved One” Contest I hold every year around Valentines Day. Readers can enter the contest (for free) and if they win I name a character after their loved one (or them, if they want!). They also receive a certificate to give to their loved one explaining the gift and free copies of the book when it comes out. 

The most thrilling moment in naming a character for me came during my award-winning debut novel Primal Instinct. The heroine, Adrienne, had a sharpened sixth sense that allowed her to get a clear glimpse into the minds and motivations of criminals. Before this ability caused her to have a breakdown and leave, she was known at the FBI as “The Bloodhound”.

I couldn’t figure out what name I wanted to use for the hero of that story. I toyed with Seth, Mark, but then settled on Conner. Imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered the meaning of the name:

Hound lover. And then he falls in love protecting someone once known as “The Bloodhound.” Perfect.

How do you choose names for your characters?  Join the discussion in the comments!

Check out the names in all Janie’s Harlequin Intrigue novels on her website. Her latest book Leverage is available here

Computer game developer Shelby Keelan has a gift: a photographic memory of anything concerning numbers. When she inadvertently discovers a code linked to terrorist attacks within a popular Internet game, she’s called in by the government to help piece together what she knows.

Pilot Dylan Branson finally has his life the way he wants it: simple, quiet and alone – as far from his covert operation past as he can get. He knows when he’s asked by his previous boss to deliver one tiny package to Omega Sector headquarters that his answer should be no. Especially when that tiny package ends up being a cute and quirky redhead he’s instantly drawn to.

But what should’ve been a routine trip turns into a desperate fight for their lives when someone is determined to see that Shelby and Dylan don’t make it anywhere alive and that the codes in her head are destroyed along with her.

Find out more about Janie Crouch by following her on Facebook and Twitter!

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