As many of you know, I've only recently become a published author through Secret Cravings Publishing. Ever since I was a young girl, I've had stories running through my mind and many different tales to tell. However, I never really focused on the characters' names.
Now, I find myself blessed with a Weekend Getaways Story, Natural Lust and a contract for five books in the River Jewel Resort Series, starting with the September 2013 release of Anything You Want, Book 1. This December, I have a novel, Wicked By Nature releasing with Secret Cravings Publishing which is currently going through the second round of edits. Like I said, I feel very blessed to have had so many of my works accepted. But here's the kicker, the one tiny snag...NAMING the many characters.
In Natural Lust, we have Kallie Masters and Hank Fogle. With Anything You Want, I began the series focusing on Sydney Blake, her philandering husband, Roger and the handsome resort manager, Mark Willburn. Of course, there are secondary characters scattered throughout both books for all of you to meet. My novel, will introduce you to Selena Barnes, Keith, Kellie and Kyle Jacobs, Shawn Richardson and a few others. Book 2, Hunter's Fortune, in the River Jewel Resort Series, will let you get to know a sexy but extremely confused woman named Hunter Golde and a cast of characters I hope you'll love.
Starting Book 3 hasn't been as difficult as I'd thought it would be. In fact, it's been great. The only problem I've had is choosing a surname for Sasha. Sunday night, I literally sat at my desk for three hours trying to think of a "good" last name. THREE hours! I'm sure other authors have found themselves in this situation quite often, but I wonder if they feel the same frustration I did?
Yes, I could've gone on and written more of her story UNTIL a proper surname "popped" into my head, but for me, it doesn't work that way. My mother used to belittle me with phrases like; "You do everything ass-backwards." That one, seemingly insignificant phrase has ended up being the story of my life. I truly do...do everything ass-backwards. But in my world, the writing world, it fits.
I just cannot move forward until little details like names are perfect. I can't just create a story around someone who's incomplete. And as I sat here the other night, staring at walls, the keyboard, organizing my thousands of pens and pencils...I was stuck. Around 2:30 a.m., I closed my laptop, closed my notebook and there on the back of that ridiculous, small book of scribbled-on paper...was a name in BIG, bold print. Nelson. My character suddenly has "real" life blown into her because of a name on a notebook.
Two days later, I sit here laughing. Stories, plots, incidents come to me at the funniest and strangest of times. But, I've never had a name come to me like that, literally right in front of me the entire time. If only I had began to write my story in the ass-backwards way I do everything else, I'd have seen the name 'Nelson' alot sooner and my pens would still be unorganized, my keyboard would still be dusty, etc.
When readers ask; "How did you come up with names for your characters?", I immediately tense up. There is no rhyme or reason for me and I feel pressured to come up with some romantic tale of my character's birth. I try my best to make the name "fit" the character, research what a name means, etc., but the truth is...I simply go with what "feels" right. Since I've begun to work with Sasha, who happens to be shy, it's been a battle and I've had to pull details out of her. Then again, maybe I just wasn't listening like I should've been. Perhaps, we're too much alike to hear each other properly? Who knows. I don't have all of the answers, I just work here, doing their bidding and hope like Hell that I get it "right".
So, to readers, my question is this: How important is a character's name to you?
To other authors: What's been your experience with choosing character names?
Feel free to share your stories <3