In a world where unusual names coupled with uncommon spelling is the norm, I've made a conscience effort to buck the trend and give my characters common names.
As a reader I don't like stumbling over pronunciation, even in my head. How about you?
My process for naming characters can be quite elaborate. Generally, the name and the meaning have to fit before I consider christening him or her. Please don't get me started on nicknames.
However, I have a bad habit of naming secondary characters on the fly which is about to come back and bite me. I've just signed a two book deal with Harlequin Superromance for A Stranger in the Family and a book to be named later. I can tell you the working title for the book to be named is Harm's Way.
Both Harm and Nash first appeared in earlier Superromance titles. I didn't give much thought to naming them at the time. Now here I am stuck with some awkward monikers.
Poor Harm. He first appeared in SEAL It With A Kiss as the brunt of a joke with a toilet seat super glued to his posterior. But as the new XO he had some wise words for the hero and became worthy of his own story, scarred buttocks and all.
That wasn't even the worst thing I did to him. I named our soon to be hero Harmon Kyle. No, not Kyle Harmon. I gave him a last name for a first name and a first name for a last name. Please don't follow this example.
I had a good reason at the time. You see I'm a JAG fan from way back. So Mr. David James Elliott aka Lieutenant Commander Harmon "Harm" Rabb meet Lieutenant Commander Harmon Kyle. Affectionately known as Harm.
In case you're wondering Harmon means "warrior."
As for Kenneth Nash, he received a mere mention in The SEAL's Baby. His sub-plot threatened to take over the main plot and was cut. Here's a hint from that story.
Mike scrubbed a weary hand over his face. "We lost two good men last time out. Then came home and--" he shook his head because he still couldn't quite believe it. "--now Nash is accused of killing his pregnant wife in some posttraumatic-stress-disorder episode."
Interestingly, Nash is or was also an XO and I had the synopsis for his story long before I wrote The SEAL's Baby. I just couldn't find the right heroine at the time. But as I fleshed out this hero for a very intricate plot the name no longer fit his ethnicity. In order to make the plot work and the name work I had to give him a Syrian mother and an American Marine father.
I don't know Jake Gyllenhaul's ethnicity (actually, I do and it's a mix), but does it really matter? He was in the Prince of Persia and he looks hot as a Jarhead. So why wouldn't he look good as a Navy SEAL? Kenneth means "handsome."
The point is to be careful naming those secondary and throwaway characters. One never knows when they might be called into service as the hero or heroine of their own story.
Readers have you ever wondered about a character's name? Authors how do you choose your character names?
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