One of the hardest things about starting a new story for me is naming my characters. I have a small selection of names I love, and unfortunately, I’ve used them all – so now I’m at the point where figuring out what to name my characters is major operation.
Naming my kids was easier.
I will confess, I tend to squander unusual names on secondary characters, often thinking they won’t ever have to be in the spotlight as the stars of their own books, so it’s okay. Those characters, unfortunately, tend to be the more memorable ones who really NEED their own books. Case in point, my devious witch from UNCROSS MY HEART, Hester Oaks.
I picked the name Hester precisely because it seemed so incongruous. Ms. Oaks is a gorgeous, red-headed witch with a lingering torch for the hero, Julian Devlin. She’s sophisticated in a paranormal way and sparks more than a little bit of jealousy in the heroine.
Of course, ever since I created Hester, she’s been pestering me for a book of her own, and I admit, I never would have chosen the name Hester for a heroine.
In my current WIP, my hero has a partner named Ruben, “Ruby” for short. The name Ruben always conjures up images of the manager guy from The Partridge Family, not a tall, dark and daringly handsome secret agent type. Nevertheless, Ruby is taking over my story, and he’s asking to be the star of his own show one day.
I suppose I shouldn’t complain about names. An unusual one will stick in readers’ minds and hopefully intrigue them enough to want to read more in a future book, but I can’t help but always feel like I’m saddling some poor character with a little bit of baggage when I give them an odd name. Granted, not every hero can be Jack or Max [two of my personal favorites] and not every heroine can be called Kate [every time I start a new story, the heroine is invariable Kate before I crack open my name books and start brainstorming] and this was even before Prince William got engaged.
What are your favorite character names? Have you used any unusual ones that you’re glad you did, or that you wish you hadn’t?
Here are some of my more memorable choices:
Calliope [heroine, The Matchmakers]
Khanu [hero, The Concubine’s Tale]
Tige [hero, Ken’ja by Bernadette Gardner]
Kash [hero, Hunter’s Mate by Bernadetter Gardner]
Rihana [heroine, Slither by Bernadette Gardner]