Characters are the most important element in the story for me as a writer and a reader. So getting to know my characters tops the list. Often the actually writing helps me know my characters. I know some writers interview the characters to learn about them, but that doesn’t work for me because I am what some call an organic writer. I don’t plot my stories because I can’t figure out what happens until I write. Part of getting to know a character is finding just the right name.
The ideas for my books often start with my characters thrown into a situation that makes them uncomfortable. Sometimes they have a name and other times I have to search for one. In my latest release, Hometown Cowboy, the fourth book in my Kellersburg series, the heroine came to me with a full name because she is the sister of the third book’s hero, Nathan Keller. Meet Caroline Keller, a descendant of the founders of Kellersburg.
However, the hero of Hometown Cowboy still needed a name when I started the book. Since my fictional town of Kellersburg is near Cincinnati, and Cincinnati was populated by a lot of ethnic Germans, I wanted to use that heritage in my story. When I started the story, I thought I would name my hero Riley Bayer because Bayer is a German surname. But as I got into the story, I decided I didn’t want my hero to have a name that could also be a girl’s name. So my cowboy became Wyatt. What do you think? Better?
Currently A Match to Call Ours is on sale for 99 cents. For this story my heroine came with a name because Brittany Gorman was a teenager in my earlier Pinecrest series. I wanted to tell her grownup story. So what was the name of the man who would capture her heart? I had to figure that out. I wanted him to be one of those children whose first name was his mother’s maiden name. So I created Parker Watson and his niece, Heather, who is Brittany’s best friend. I probably don’t have to tell you that Heather plays matchmaker. Get the book now while it is on sale.
One of the most fun naming techniques for a hero came from using the names of two of my nephews, Garrett and Chase. I put the names together and came up with Chase Garrett, the hero of Miracle Baby. The heroine’s name for that book was inspired by a young sales clerk, who wore a name badge. Her last last name was Morales, and she looked very much like the woman I imaged as the heroine. I played around with several Spanish female first names until I settled on Dorinda, but in the story she is called Dori. This book is a reissue of one of my older Steeple Hill books. It is now ready for preorder for a special preorder price of 99 cents. The book will release on June 24, 2021.
How important are characters and their names to you as a reader? Do you like common names or unusual names for characters? I will give away an ebook copy of the first book in my Pinecrest series, Second Chance Love, to one person who leaves a comment. I will draw the winning name on May 28, 2021 at 9PM MST.
“Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.”