What's your name, little girl, what's your name?
It's amazing how much I struggle to pick names. I have source books to help me - a big book of baby names and phone books. I also like to pull books off my shelves and open right to the indexes and references at the back looking for something that will hit me. One of my favorite ways to troll for names though is by reading television and movie credits. Why do I go through all this? Because I don't want to create even a vague picture of someone I know in my mind when I'm creating a character nor do I want to be asked if I was thinking of so and so when I wrote this book.
The hard part is that names repeat over and over again, particularly men's names. You can't help that but it can be frustrating. I've often wondered how Nora Roberts deals with names because she's so prolific. It has to be an even bigger challenge for her.
When I wrote Caution: Filling is Hot four years ago I fell in love with Piper Frost's name. It fit her perfectly, especially when I had her decorating cakes but then, this December I ordered a book of short stories featuring one of my favorite authors and she'd written a Piper as well. That happens and I wasn't too concerned until I kept on reading and found that she'd named her Piper's love interest Mick. This was a Twilight Zone sort of moment for me because my Piper's ex was named Mick. He was the ghost standing between Piper and her developing relationship with Chad.
What did I do about it? Nothing. I'd written my novel years before I stumbled across this short story and they were so vastly different from each other I didn't think comparisons would ever be an issue but still, it was strange. I sincerely hope I don't run across something like that again.