Monday, January 23, 2012

A Hero By Any Other Name

So I started a new work in progress. Again. I've got about twelve in my wip file. I think I might have a problem, but that's a whole 'nother post.

When I start a new book, all my heroes are named John, and my heroines are Jane (my obsession with names beginning with J is a whole 'nother post as well) This is because my characters start talking, then I can figure out their names as I go. This particular book is book two of a sequel, so I already have hero #1 picked out. His name is Dean, and while I don't remember the process of picking out his name, the name evokes a certain image in my mind. Someone preppy. Neat, clean cut, organized and picky. Which is exactly how this character grew on the pages.

So this new wip hero tells me suddenly that his name is going to be Jay. I told him in no uncertain terms that this wouldn't work (his sister was already named in the previous book Falling Star as Jade, and what parents would name their kids Jay and Jade? Don't answer that.) But I liked the image that the name Jay evoked in my mind. A bit tough, a bit vulnerable.

Then it hit me that my sister's husband's name is Jay. And his middle name is Dean. So that's out (Hah! I win this round, unnamed hero!)

So he's back to John. Did I mention my obsession with J names?

I wrote my book Fine Print entirely, and even submitted it to a publisher back in 2009. To celebrate the completion of the novel, I bought my favorite author Sandra Brown's latest book and lo and behold, her MCs had the same names as mine. I couldn't bring myself to change Derek's name, so Julie became Kara. It took me a while to see her as Kara since I'd just spent months getting to know her as Julie.

Yes. A "J" name.

Maybe I think about this stuff too much, but each name means something to me. For example, I had a babysitter named Tori (Victoria). She was awful. I have horrible stories which I won't relate here, mostly because my mind has probably "enhanced" the memory and made her worse than she actually was. This is why I'll never have a heroine named Vicki, Victoria, Tori, or anything related. I did have an irritating woman named Victoria in my book PreView. I think she fills out that name perfectly.

My apologies to any Victoria who reads this. I'm sure you're all lovely women. Be nice to children.

So back to my hero. I'm so picky with this name thing, I might have half the book written before I name the poor guy. I need a name that goes well with his last name (Graham) and one that embodies his personality as I know it so far (ex-cop, oldest brother, protective, private).

Any suggestions?

~ Alanna Coca

Books ** Twitter ** Facebook * Website


Kim B said...

I have a friend who is a cop, he's a protector (he checks in on my recently widowed mother), and very private. His name is Jeff - and there you go, it's a "J" as well.

Alanna Coca said...

Thanks Kim! Think I could maybe interview this Jeff guy? :)

Kim B said...

I can ask him, but like I said VERY private.

Alanna Coca said...

Hehe okay, I'll use my imagination ;)

Savanna Kougar said...

J, hmmmm... Jericho. However, that name probably doesn't fit your hero.

William Kendall said...

Bret, perhaps? Not a J name....

I can appreciate the dislike of the Victoria name, which from my point of view is perfectly fine. I know a guy named Scott, a real jackass and waste of oxygen of the first order... can you tell I dislike him? I could never use his name for a character.