While I was growing up I hated my first name. Since the only Helen I’d ever heard of was the actress Helen Hayes, the name always said to me “old lady.” Sweet, frail, gray-haired mum, that was me.
Admit it, that’s the same image that pops up for you, too.
Eventually, I came to terms with the name (or did I age into it?) and now I actually like the name Helen. It’s different, simple, kinda pretty. I guess my folks did okay. Some parents not so much. The names some celebrities have given their kids have me alternating between cringing and laughing.
Calico (Admittedly pretty tame for the daughter of Alice Cooper.)
Apple Blythe Alison Martin (What do you expect from a mother named Gwyneth and a grandmother named Blythe?)
Fuschia (Sting – you’d think such wonderful poet/song writer could come up with something more lyrical.)
Hopper (Boy? Girl? Farm equipment? Sean Penn and Robin Wright)
Sage Moonblood and Seargeoh (Sylvester Stallone, who shouldn’t be allowed to name anymore children.)
Kyd (Honestly, this one makes me chuckle - David Duchovny and Tea Leoni – figures.)
Brooklyn (David and Victoria Beckham, parents also of Romeo and Cruz - somebody please stop these two.)
Moon Unit Zappa (Guess who?)
But then there’s Suri, (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes). I love that name.
And Destry (Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw). I don’t know what the name means, but it conjures up all kinds of wonderful images for me.
What does Emily say to you? Elijah, Alexander, Grace? Wilbur? Yeah, that’s my grandpa’s name. I loved him, but the name always made me think of that talking horse sitcom … what was the name of that show?
Anyway, one of the first things I have to do when I start a new book (which I’ll be doing in just a few weeks) is to figure out my characters’ names. It really messes me up if I use the wrong name for one of my people. So I search and search through my baby name books and the phone book and websites before I settle on names.
Coming up with names for my new Superromance series set on a fictitious Mirabelle Island off Wisconsin’s Lake Superior shore was particularly tricky. It’s a beautifully quaint island, similar to Michigan’s Mackinac, with cobblestone streets, Victorian bed and breakfast inns, horse drawn carriages, but there are lots of secondary characters and, so far, four books in the series. I had to put together a separate file of names in order to keep everyone straight as I write!
FIRST COME TWINS, the first book in the series released in August, features Noah and Sophie, two born and bred islanders, childhood sweethearts who get a second chance at love.
NEXT COMES LOVE, number two, will be released in October. Garrett and Erica make their way to Mirabelle for very different reasons. Erica’s on the run looking for safety, and Garrett, an ex-Chicago cop, wants a peaceful life. Sparks fly when their paths cross.
THEN COMES BABY, the third book, features Jamis and Natalie. Jamis came to Mirabelle to hide from his past, but Natalie—you guessed it—won’t let him!
ALONG CAME A HUSBAND, is Missy’s and Jonas’s story. Missy comes into the series as a secondary character in book number two and in story, to be released in June 2010, her past finally catches up with her.
So tell me, do my names work for you? How important are character’s names to you? Can it end up meaning the difference between liking and not liking a story? What about over-used names? Do you have one that you’re sick of, one that if you see it again you’ll immediately stop reading?
I'm giving away a copy of FIRST COME TWINS to one commenter so do share! I'll pick a winner in a couple of days.
***Helen picked Cherie J. as the winner! Cherie please email Helen with your full mailing address so she can get the prize in the mail to you. :) And thanks to everyone else who left a comment!***