What is in a name?

Now that I have beat last week’s deadline and finished my book, it’s already time to start a new on. (sigh) No rest for the weary. People often ask me how I come up with so many ideas for stories. Or how I manage to pump a book out every month. To be honest with you, it’s not easy. However, that’s not what’s the hardest part of the writing process to me. No, the real challenge is what to my name my characters.

It’s very daunting. Give you hero a weak name and then he’ll come off as a weenus. Don’t believe me? Imagine in your head a tall, dark and handsome man. He’s built like Adonis, has full sensual lips, dark hair and smoky bedroom eyes. Maybe he’s a SEAL, a vampire or a cowboy.

Do you all have Mr. Perfect visualized?

Okay, now you find out his name is Eugene or Horrace.

Pop! That just burst your bubble, didn’t it?

My biggest fear whenever I start a new book is that I’m going to royally mess up and ruin my hero before the reader even gets past page one. So what I do before I start any new project is I sit down with paper and pencil and go name hunting.

It’s not as easy as it sounds either. First off, you have certain names that have been so overused in the romance genre that you just cringe whenever you see it pop up again. On the other hand, you don’t want to go completely in the other direction and use something so generic, it’s laughable. Can you imagine a hero called John Smith?

I usually go to the baby name website and look there. Once I get a few ideas down, I research the origins and meanings of the name next. The after I have a first and last name in mind, I Google it. My biggest fear is thinking I have the best moniker in the world, then write a book, only to find out I inadvertently gave his the same name as a serial killer or something. I’m sure we all remember that episode of Seinfeld where Elaine didn’t want to date a guy because he had the same first and last of an infamous murderer. Funny for a TV show, yes. For a romance novel, no.

Despite all this I still love. It gives me a kind of heady thrill knowing that I get the honor of creating these great heroes. I just have to make sure to give them the wonderful names they deserve.

-Stephani
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