Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What's in a name?

Congratulations to Jean of Ohio for winning the signed copy of Secret Life of a Vampire! My thanks to all who left comments. Please come back June 25th for my next contest.

How do I choose names for my characters? First, there are the obvious considerations. Is the character male or female? Is he/she Scottish, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, or something else? What kind of character is he/she? Macho, airhead, nerdy, etc. Sometimes, I already have a name in mind. Like Jean-Luc-- I've always loved that name from watching Capt. Picard on Star Trek. And Jack-- I've always loved that name and the name Giacomo ever since the movie, The Court Jester, where Danny Kaye plays the role of Giacomo, King of Jesters and Jester of Kings!

Sometimes, a name is a joke, like the FBI director named Barker who turned out to be an Irish Wolfhound. In the case of my Japanese vampires, Kyo, Yoshi, and Yuki, I asked my daughter for help. She's a big anime/manga fan and happily supplied me with her favorite names. (Fruit Basket, anyone?) In the next Love at Stake book, Sexiest Vampire Alive (releasing Sept 27th), I'll be introducing three Vamps from Australia: Rick, Steve, and Bryan. Steve is in memory of Steve Irwin, and Bryan because Monty Python liked to name their Aussie guys Bryan. Rick--I have no idea where he came from, but there was Bleer being served, so he showed up.

Sometimes, I go to baby naming websites that give names by ethnicity and gender. When I finally find the right name, it just clicks, and I know it's the one. That works well for first names, but what about last names? Where did the names Draganesti or Veszto come from? I found them on maps. Draganesti is a small village in Romania and Veszto is another village in Hungary. Echarpe was a bit of a joke. It means scarf, because after an evening with Jean-Luc, a woman would need a scarf.

Which character names do you like the most? Or the least? Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Secret Life of a Vampire, starring Jack (one of my favorite names!)

53 comments:

Birgit said...

Actually I like the "normal" sounding names best, like Michael or Sarah, unless of course we're talking about a sci-fi or fantasy novel, in which case fancier names are perfectly ok.
P.S.: I like Jean-Luc too ... oh the good old days of watching all those TNG episodes *sigh*.

danaan at gmx dot at

P.S.: Not sure if the giveaway is international, but felt like commenting either way :-) !

WildAboutBones said...

I always wondered if authors visited baby naming sites. Now I know LOL! Great minds think alike - Jean Luc is the sexiest starship capt. Can't wait to meet Rick, Steve and Bryan. Aww, it was so sweet to remember the Crocodile Hunter like this. He was taken too soon and now his namesake will live forever in your book. Grigori is one of my favorite names in addition to Jean Luc. Others I like from other authors include Vlad, Phury, Zsadist and of course Bones! Love to win your book. jennifermailcenter[at]gmail(dot)come

Mountain Laurel said...

I like simple names too...but your characters are cool and out of them I like Conner. That was a warrior/older name that suited your character...
Some of your fancier names were good too like Jean Luc....OK...shucks, I thought they all were good! LOL

Jessica said...

I don't care for names that are hard to pronounce, it makes reading it more difficult. Sometimes I still can't even be sure if I'm "reading" the name right. My own version of pronunciation might not even be close to how the author pronounces it!

Ren said...

I love names such as, Jack, Luc (and the variation like Lucas, Luke, Lucian, Lucien, etc), and I love Irish name too :)

sawamura_foxman AT yahoo DOT com

Sharon said...

How cool! I always like to ask writers where they get character names. Sometimes they are pretty clever in jokes.

I love J names for guys. Jack (always have loved this one), Jaden, Jeremiah, Jareth, Jason...

For girls, I like L names. Lorelei is probably my favorite. I tried to name my second child that, but no one else liked it :( and my first's name is Lauren. I ended up going with Holly.

Jean P said...

I like the names that I don't have trouble pronouncing, if I spend my whole time reading and trying to figure out the name, the book loses its appeal to me.

skpetal at hotmail dot com

SandyG265 said...

I like normal names. I find it's easier to read a story when I'm not trying to figure out people's names.

sgiden at verizon.net

Shadow Black said...

I love your books!! I dabble in writing and find it hard to come up with names. You truly are talented!!

Anonymous said...

I like one syllable names like Jake, Jack, Blake, Joe, etc... I named my son Jake, and my father didn't approve of the name,so he called him Jack. lol

kathleen.gallagher90@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I like old-fashion names like Margaret, Katherine and Samantha..For guys I like Nicholas and David..Thanks for writing such great books...

JCouch said...

It is very interesting how people come up with names for characters. I am also curious on how not so common names are inspired. Great article. Love your books.

Mary said...

I love the char name of Ian! He reminds me of someone that I know in person! Its great how you come up with the char names and the store lines behind them!

Kristin said...

I love names like Jean-Luc. I am a trek fan and love interesting names that are a little different and have a type of "flair" of their own.

Rain Maiden said...

I'm not big on the name Vlad for a vampire. I guess because I have read too many Vampires named that. I love the name Declan..no clue on a last name.

Jnmt3...at..hotmail....dot....com

SheriV said...

I love Jean-Luc even more now that I know what inspired it, because I think Picard is everyone's favorite. At least he is mine. I also love that your daughter helped out with the Japanese names and they did look a little familiar to me. Jack is always a good name the men who are Jack are always way sexy and alphas.

smurfettev (at) gmail (dot) com

Judy said...

Your humor is great! Even is a short blog like this. I like the way Jean-Luc Esharpe flows but many of your characters have unique names and personalities. I started writing some books and found the naming the fun part. I went back to the century in which I was writing and found first and last names. Many are just the unique spelling. I don't think I'll ever hear the name Angus again without thinking of a scottish vampire checking that all his parts arrived safely. Can't wait till September!

Anonymous said...

Love the name Jack since I am first generation American/Irish. But Jean-Luc is such a hot name makes me melt when I say it!!!

Alice Edwards
ballyeds@aol.com

Norma said...

I like the fact that you seem to use names that seem to go with the time period that the vampire came from.

I think Roman is my favorite probably because the name is unusual.

I've enjoyed all your books and can't wait for the next one to come out. Thanks for writing such great stuff!

Norma (snostorm55 at yahoo dot com)

lapointe20js said...

Love names like Conner, Jean-Luc, and Lucien. Like the names to have an exotic feeling, but not to hard to figure out to say them.

red11panda11 said...

I like names that aren't very popular anymore. I started your series and read 9 of them in just 6 days. I just can't get enough of this series. red11panda11@aol.com

Johanna J said...

I as a lot of others like simple names. Ones that have been around for awhile that would fit the characteristic of the characters. Lucian, Jack, Jean-Luc, Simon are all good names as are Conner, Damien, Eric, Michael, Nicholas,and Raphael just to name a few :)......
jomjorg@yahoo.com

Kelly said...

my new favorite is Keiran or Key for short.. Also love the name Nicholas..... Oh so many good names..
But I have to say I really like the ones that I can pronounce...

Thank you for a chance to win this book..

Kelly M
crazybookfairy(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Gina said...

I love the name Jean-Luc!! I tried naming a stuffed vamp bat my son won after the character in your book but he wouldnt let me :( LOL.

Joni G. said...

I also like pronounceable names. Though if there were hints on how to do so, that would be okay. Thanks for the chance to win!

Katie Dalton said...

Us ST gals have to stick together Kerrelyn, Jean-Luc make it so! ;) Hmm maybe Q would have been too much of a dead giveaway. lol

Which name do I like the most? Well if it's from your series I am still going with my love monkey DOUGAL! I heart him, so shy and so cute. I mean he got wounded pretty bad give the guy a break Ker and write him a love story. hehehe

Aside from those I am going with Logan (yes XMen) and a name I love so much I gave it to my son. :)

I have some signed books already so please don't enter me, just wanted to comment xoxox

Sapphyria said...

I like many different types of names -- traditional, old fashioned, exotic. It is helpful if the author sneaks the actual pronunciation of the name (if it's not easily pronounced) into the book...I've seen it done before.
Lucian is a favorite. I've seen the movie Underworld many, many times.

Wonderful interview! Thank you!

June M. said...

I love Angus McKay's name, everytime I think of it I remembert the line of Emma's thinking "where's the beef"!

manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

Melissa said...

HI Kerrelyn,
I love Jean-Luc and Connor the best! I loved Murielle from the new book too!
P.S. Secret Life of a Vampire is my fav book!

Your biggest CANADIAN fan!!
Melissa

Kristina said...

I like the not so typical names, but that aren't too hard to pronounce. Mercy is one of my favorites.

Chelsey said...

Damien and Lucian are two of my favorites because they are some of my favorite characters! I like the sexy names. If a name alone came make me smile and think " o he sounds yummy" then I know the book is going to be amazing :)
Please keep writing! Your books are my escape from a crazy hectic schedule!
Chelsey

nat2am said...

The names I like best would be Robbie and Jack... those are the ones from the book that I like the most but coming up next would be Roman and Jean-Luc..... Cant wait for the next book to come out =)

Jocelynn said...

Oh, happy sigh. During the past 4 days, I've reread 3 of your books and have been useless with my own writing. Thanks for writing such awesomeness.

As for names, love Jean-Luc, but then I grew up loving ST-TNG. Picard is so wonderful. I also fell in love with Carlos Panterra. I wasn't a huge fan of the name Carlos until I read about his yumminess.

In my own writing, I like strange, unique names. Current favorites are Mira and Gage.

tonya said...

It is so funny a friend and I were talking about the names for your characters just yesterday. We love the Scotsman the most Ian, Conner, and Angus. Love it.

Lori said...

I love crazy names that don't strike you as the name of a person. In a book I wrote, my main character's name is Cedar. I have no idea how I came up with her name but the book title ended up being Discovering Cedar and that throws anyone who sees the cover b/c there are a bunch of trees on the front but it's the girl's name. I would have to say Draganesti is my favorite name from the Love at Stakes series b/c it sounds like a wizard type name or something not a vampire. It's soooo cool.

wmeyer@atlanticbb.net

Stephanie said...

I like names that were more prominent in the past and other countries. I love names like Ian and Connor.

Johanna R Jochum said...

I love the name Jean-Luc and Jack too! I also love Luke or Lucas, Tristan, Ian, and Justin! Thanks for sharing today!

evjochum[AT]aol[DOT]com

Anonymous said...

I like the Scottish names
Angus is my favorite from love at stake
Series, I like contemporary settings but
like old fashion names. Connor is also a
Sexy strong name. Biblical names for
Women, Sara, Ruth, Elizabeth...

Cylver said...

Hi Kerrelyn! Picard is my favorite Trek captain as well, so I'm glad to know Jean-Luc is named after him! And when I read about Steve it will make me remember who he's named after as well.

Some of my favorite vamps have names like Dante, Raphael, Ian - and yes, Jack!

Sometimes I like names that are easy to pronounce, other times I like the challenge of a slightly more unique name. For me, if I love the character, I'll invariably love the name as well!

Sheree said...

Yep, readily pronounceable names are best. What if I want to recommend or discuss a book with someone and I couldn't pronounce the characters' names? I'd look silly and it'd be tough to sell that book to a new reader.

Other than that, I don't have a preference. Okay, maybe if the hero or heroine's name is the same as the bullies in fourth grade...

ironss[ at] gmail [dot] com

Casey H said...

I love unique names. Names that you normally don't hear. The only name I hate is my ex's name (which is fairly common, unfortunately).

cheesecake.thief59(at)gmail(dot)com

Jodie B. Cooper said...

I like Draganesti, Laszlo, and Vanda Barkowski. They're unique, yet pronounceable.

Marielle was the perfect name for Connor's angel. I love all your books, but Vampire Mine was an exceptional story.

Of course, the list wouldn't be complete without VANNA. For anyone who isn't familiar with How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire, VANNA stands for Vampire Artificial Nutritional Needs Appliance. LOL ~ loved it!

Kimberly said...

I like the more "normal" sounding names, both older and newer ... Katherine or Katie, Samual or Sam. Even "trendy" names work, as long as they for the scenario, like a surfer named Chase. Or something like that. As long as I can pronounce it, and it isn't crazy, it'll work for me. :)

crystal said...

My husband and I love names that many people don't use that much so when I read your books and you came up with the names I loved them because you never hear names like that now a days.

megblod said...

I would have to say that I like some simple names sometimes but I also like some of the fancier ones to. I just can't stand it when people name their kids after things or something, or give them something really out dated that when you hear it makes ybou think more of a grandparent than a kid.

Kirsten said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emely Graham said...

Being a writer myself, I know where all these names come from. I used the same tricks to choose the perfect name for my characters.

You have good taste. Bryan and Jack are actually names I'm using for two of my favorite vampires too... :)

Anonymous said...

I usually like the easier names to pronounce such as Connor and Lucien, but for some reason I really liked the choice of Draganesti...it really stayed with me.

Thanks for the great stories and the enjoyable hours of reading you have given me.

Shari
scotch2o@comcast.net

Anonymous said...

I like names that speak to the personality of the charcter. I also have a thing for unusual names like: Justice, Vida, Vengence, Raphael and Niella.

Anonymous said...

~Heather
book_lover6983@yahoo.com

Amy said...

I like both normal-sounding and exotic names, as long as they fit the personality of the person. Some names for a person better than others.

whitewolfreads said...

I always liked the name Elena. I know its used often but but i still think its a very nice name because it means 'light'.

whitewolfreads AT gmail DOT com

janhvi said...

i love all the names but names with a bit of a twist are all the more better!!
i love jean luc and toni and giacomo are AWESOME!!!

justjanhvi at gmail dot com