Today I’m excited to welcome Valerie Comer as she talks about character names.
Have you ever noticed that names that used to be boys’ names are now often used for girls? I object! Why should girls be called Jordan or Taylor or Dakota or Morgan? Not because they can’t be completely feminine names, but because strong male names are hard to find these days! And who wants to fall for a hero with a sissy-sounding moniker?
I’m currently on the fourth novel of a series that will likely go to twelve books. Not only that, but it’s linked to some of my other series, as well! Keeping characters straight is a full-time job for me, and one I want to make the easiest as possible for my readers.
That means keeping careful lists, to which I add even the most casual passing characters. For this project, I’ve resorted to an Excel workbook since my lighter-weight methods weren’t holding up anymore. I have a tab for male names and another for female, then have the alphabet listed down the A column of each. All heroes and heroines for this series are listed in all caps in the B column, while all other characters are in regular type.
I search Google with terms like ‘boy name 1990.’ From the sites that come up, I list the names that catch my eye — yes, I keep a master list so I don’t hit Google every time I need to name someone! I look carefully at not only the first letter, but the rhythm of a name. This series has already had a hero named Wade, but Wesley is coming. See how different the shape of those names look at a glance?
The other thing I watch for is similar sounding names. A couple of years ago, the boys’ list was populated with Aiden, Braden, Caden, Hayden, and even more rhyming names. It pays to take the time to consider how well the name plays with others in the book or series.
At other times, a character strolls in for a ‘job interview’ and announces his name. Cameron Kraus, hero of Rooted in Love (released November 14) was one such character. Not only that, but his six-year-old sons, Evan and Oliver, also came with name tags and personalities in place. What a mischievous pair they turned out to be, as you’ll see in the excerpt.
Alaina Silva returns to Arcadia Valley determined to re-root herself in her faith, but that doesn’t mean no dating, does it? She can totally separate the rambunctious twins in her daycare from their very intriguing dad… for a while, anyway.
Divorcé Cameron Kraus has a busy life with a career and two six-year-olds. Now he’s finally scored full-time daycare at the Grace Greenhouse Kids Program, but his overbearing parents are in town for the summer offering to watch the boys. No thanks. Not when Cameron can see the gorgeous program administrator at drop-off and pick-up every day… and oftener.
But when doubts and trials arise, they must dig their roots deep in their faith and love for each other.
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Cameron Kraus gazed down the long petal-strewn grass aisle between rows of finely dressed guests seated in padded folding chairs. A mass of tall rhododendrons, loaded with pink blossoms, blocked his view in the distance, while mounds of flowers poured out of urns around the periphery. The fragrance nearly gagged him.
The wedding of the year, reported the Valley Times. Maybe not quite that, but likely the wedding of the month, at least. That’s what happened when a long-standing wealthy Arcadia Valley family planned nuptials. Even Grace Fellowship wasn’t big enough to hold everyone. They’d had to reserve the park.
He forced his hands to hang at his sides. No fiddling with the cuffs of his tux or adjusting the cummerbund. No shifting from one patent-leather shoe to the other. Definitely no looking at his mother seated in the front row.
Music swelled from the string quartet off to one side as a bridesmaid carrying a humungous bouquet strolled around the rhododendrons and down the long aisle wearing a royal blue dress that swished around her knees. There was money in the flower and garden center business. No doubt about it.
The matron of honor appeared next, but Cameron’s eyes were trained on the gap in the bushes behind her. The violin solo went on longer than during rehearsal, but maybe that was his imagination.
Two little boys in black tuxes strutted into view, each carrying a painted sign. Both smiling.
Cameron dared to breathe. After the near tantrum this morning, he hadn’t been sure how the day would play out.
The redhead — his son Oliver — pointed straight to the front and then at his sign. Just wait until you see our Aunt Jonah. The other twin, Evan, showed off his placard to the guests lining the aisle. Don’t worry. We’re still single.
Guests chuckled. Cameras snapped. Beaming, the boys soaked up the limelight.
Cameron glanced at his mother just as the music segued into the traditional bridal march. She smiled at the boys as they passed her, but her lips looked tight. She’d told Cameron the boys were undisciplined. Unruly. Needed a firm hand. Maybe now that she and Dad were in Idaho for the summer, she could help him get control of his hooligans.
Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary Christian romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie grows much of her own food and is active in the local foods movement as well as her church. She only hopes her imaginary friends enjoy their happily-ever-afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.
Valerie is a USA Today bestselling author and a two-time Word Award winner. She writes engaging characters, strong communities, and deep faith into her green clean romances.
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