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Monday, January 19, 2015

Melissa McClone: Naming a Hero

Readers have asked me how I come up with character's names. I wish I had a process, but there's no one way. Often a name just comes to me. Sometimes I hear one somewhere that resonates with me. Other times I've brainstormed and/or asked for help. One thing I have figured out is I need to be more careful with what I name my secondary male characters.

Why?

Two reasons: Potential sequels and Bill Paulson

Bill first appeared as a secondary character in a Harlequin Romance called Rescued by the Magic of Christmas. His name came from Pacific Northwest climbers I met while researching the book—Bill (two shared this name) and Paul. Bill sounded like a good first name for a firefighter and volunteer mountain rescuer, a fun-loving, needs-to-grow-up, but has a big heart kind of guy.

He made an appearance in a free read I wrote for Harlequin.com, three sequels to the first book, and ended up the hero of the final story in the series, a series I never intended to write when I started the first book. There's nothing wrong with the name Bill. It fit him. But I'll be honest, had I know Bill might one day be the hero in his own book, I probably wouldn't have named him that even though now I couldn't imagine him called anything else!

When I wrote Home For Christmas in 2013, I kept thinking of Bill. The story had sequel possibilities so I kept thinking hero potential when I was coming up with names. The heroine's brother ended up being named Tyler and a wrangler was called Zack.

My Haley's Bay series for Harlequin Special Edition features a family of seven siblings, five of which are brothers: AJ, Ellis (already married), Flynn, Declan and Grady. Once again, Bill popped into my head. Only this time I could hear him say what's wrong with a Tim or a Tom or a Bob. Nothing, I had to admit. But those weren't the names that fit the Cole brothers.

When I wrote Picture Perfect Love, I could almost hear Bill whispering a name. Sam. Sam. Sam...

I knew when to give up!

One of the secondary characters is named Sam. He's a nice guy who needs to grow up a little, and he's got definite hero potential!

I've got a mini-swag pack up for grabs! You'll get an autographed book, fuzzy socks to keep your feet warm while you read, a couple bookmarks and a chocolate bar.

To enter the giveaway, comment with your favorite male name (from real life or a book!) I'll post the name of the winner in the comment section on Friday!

76 comments:

Kathy Osborn said...

My favorite name is Dannie, my hubby. I don't think I could have done better as we have gone through the last 10 yrs and we still keep going strong. Thanks for the change.

Melissa Davison said...

Bill. Bill was my daddys name. R.I.P.

miriama said...

I've always liked the name Sam. My grandpa was a Sam and so is one of my cousins.

Brooke Bumgardner said...

When I read contemporary, I like names that are easy to relate to, and somewhat modern-sounding, like Derek or Jason (Jase). I love when it's a name they can have a nickname with.

Lynn said...

Skyler

teena3940 said...

I have two.. Aidan and Liam!!

rondadoug said...

Vaughn & River would be 2 that O like...lol and my son is named Vaughn :)

Marissa Yip-Young said...

Tyler

Tina Hairston said...

I actually have a few: Jeremy, Grayson, Alessandro and Rafe.

bulky said...

Jaden, Jonas, Josh and Toy! In real life I call my boyfriend Toy! I love that name because he is my toy. When I get mad at him, I tell him I am going to yank his batteries.

Michelle Thomas said...

Favorite male name is Dakota. Thanks for the giveaway.

karen beckett said...

My favorite male name is Thomas. My late husband was Thomas (we were blessed with 32 years together), my son is Thomas Jr. & my son-in-law is Thomas!

Jennifer Essad said...

Dirk

Linda Stults said...

Dusty

Janine said...

I don't really have favorite names. but I have names that I don't care for and those are the trendy names that seem to fade away quick. I like a good common name that seems fitting if you read a book today or 10 years from now.

Jan De said...

I love the name Shawn or Cody for a male name! Thanks so much:)

traveler said...

Jordan.

petite said...

Max, Elliot, Laurence, Martin

Tanya Phillips said...

Got to be Stephen. My dads name and father in laws. If I had a son its middle name would have been this xx

dstoutholcomb said...

Sebastian

Denise

Cheryl Hastings said...

Jack and Matt are my favorite hero names, but if either of my girls had been a boy, their name would have been Conor :)

L Lavender said...

Nico. It's my grandfather's and I love the name.

Karen H said...

My favorite male names are Mark (my son) and John (my dad's first name & my son's middle name). Enjoyed reading your post today and thanks for the giveaway too!

Bev said...

Logan, Greyson, Christian, Sabastion, and Beck

Jen Rey said...

I like Ryan and Kade or Cade

Jen Rey said...

I also like Jax or Jackson :)

Jean said...

Going with Robert which was my dad's name,

Robyn Konopka said...

I like the name Daniel.

victoria james said...

Dalton

Shannon Moore Smith said...

Brad :) my hubby's name

Eileen A-W said...

My hubby is Larry and my sons are Nathan (or Nate) & Matt (never Matthew). I like the name Sam, Aaron (Matt's middle name), David, Daniel (Nate's middle) and Ben. I like normal names, nothing super fancy.

Bonnie said...

Carlos!

Cathy Truman said...

I like the names Keith (my husband)TJ (my dad) Bailey(my dog)
Cathy Truman

Sharon Brimer said...

Gannon

Janie Prather said...

James or Rick

Denise Romans said...

My hubby is Sam so I like that name :)

Rachael B said...

Alex

LMcLendon said...

Heathcliff

Mary Preston said...

Terry Pratchett must have so much fun choosing/making up names. One of my favorites is Moist von Lipwig from his book GOING POSTAL.

Anita H said...

Love your fun post today Melissa! There are lots of great male names to choose from but I'm going with Matt. Thanks for the chance to win!

Gretchen Miller said...

Adam

Ada said...

I've always been partial to Alex for some reason.

Laurie G said...

My favorite male name is Luke closely followed by Eric and Jason.

Erica Stemm said...

Scott

Desiree Fordham said...

Mason, Maxim or Maxson: strong, masculine, uncommon.

Dawn Hagan said...

Glenn, my husband's name, cause he is the love of my life

Quilt Lady said...

I have always loved the name of Joseph and that is what I named my son.

Dana said...

HuAlan! I rented property from a family a long time ago and this is their sons' name..I love it!

Kelli Smith said...

Well, my husband is Scottish and I'm Irish - so we are very into Celtic names. We have 4 boys - 3 of which my husband named. So, finally on the fourth one - I got to name one !! LOL After hours of looking and screaming them (ya know to see how they would sound when they were getting in trouble) Rogan is my fave name. :)

Robin Driscoll said...

I like Robert and Jonathan

Scrapcrazy said...

Liam, for some reason I just love that name, also love Justin, Ryan, Matthew, Derrick

Michele L. said...

I like the names Brent, Victor, Grant, Pierce, Christian, Cash, Hunter, Anton, Sebastian and Max. They all sound powerful and very commanding!

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

Nick is one of mine.

Unknown said...

I have to go with the name of Walter -- my husband of 41 years! Our grandson is also named Walter (the 3rd).

dusty katt said...

I really like Lee.

Melissa McClone said...

This comment is for Pilar Williams Seacord. She couldn't post herself so asked me to:

My husband's name is David but we call him Dave. Really like that name simple and biblical.

Melissa McClone said...

Congrats on the 10 years. And I love that your hubby's name is your fave, Kathy!

Melissa McClone said...

Hugs on the loss of your dad, Melissa. Bill is a great name. I'm so glad I used it for my guy. Things do work out!

Melissa McClone said...

I really like Sam, too, miriama!

Melissa McClone said...

Nicknames are great, Brooke. Great name choices, too!

Melissa McClone said...

Love that name, Lynn! It's funny but I immediately picture a guy with blue eyes!

Melissa McClone said...

Really good names, Teena.

Melissa McClone said...

Vaughn is the last name of my hero in one of my Christmas books. I never thought about using it for a first name but it would be a good one! River is a very cool name, too, rondadoug!

Melissa McClone said...

I love this name so much. How much? I actually have a secondary character in my Special Edition series named, Tyler, too. I hope he'll get his own book one day!

Melissa McClone said...

Really strong names, Tina!

Melissa McClone said...

Great names! At my college there was a football player named Toi, pronounced Toy. He also played on the baseball team. I nice guy!

katie Schlauderaff said...

I have two little boys, Brady and Theodore, so I couldn't possibly choose between two of the cutest boys I know :-)

Donna E said...

Dale (my hubby), Bryan - with a 'Y' (my son), and Don, or Donald (my father's name)

tisonly143 said...

Wes and Aaron for my grandson and James for my best friend

Melissa McClone said...

The winner according to random.org is Marissa Yip-Young! Marissa please contact me via my website www.melissamcclone.com or my FB page www.facebook.com/melissamcclonebooks to receive your prize.

Thanks for all the great comments. I'm reading through them and will finish up this weekend. Some great names!!!! Thanks again.

Melissa McClone said...

Good name, Michelle. It was on my list for my Bar V5 guys!

Melissa McClone said...

I'm married to a Thomas. His dad was Thomas and His grandfather, too!

Melissa McClone said...

Love that name. Makes me think of Starbuck from the old Battlestar Galactica since that was the actor's name!

Melissa McClone said...

Love it! I have two Dusty's in my Bar V5 books. A dog and a wrangler!

Melissa McClone said...

What I've found with those trendy names is they don't really go away. They sort of fade to the school/kid age set, only to be heard more once those kids grow up and those names become more mainstream.

jeanette schardt said...

Dom,or Travis,Levi.Ian.brook.so many names