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The name thing…with Stephanie Tyler


Hi everyone!  Greta, thanks for having me here in anticipation of Sydney Croft’s new release, Taming The Fire.  The other half of Syd, Larissa Ione, is partying at the Romantic Times Convention (and claiming she misses me terribly) but she’s here in spirit.  Meanwhile, you all get to hear me babble.  And there’s a giveaway at the end as your reward for listening.

Someone in the Writeminded monthly chat the other night asked about authors chose names for characters – for example, do we create the character and then choose the name or vice-versa.

It’s pretty much neither for me – in fact, as I told the reader, my heroes sort of just arrive in my head, fully formed (as another reader said, fully formed SEALs!!!!)…and they have a name.  Sometimes it’s a name that I’ve heard before and then the characters with that name shows up, but most of the time it’s like, oh, Trance – look at him.

I never said writers weren’t a little bit crazy, but hey, that’s honestly what keeps the writing part so much fun.  For example, I vividly remember writing the opening scene for Taming The Fire (which releases this coming Tuesday, April 28th – YAY!)  from Trance’s point of view back in January 2007, while we were not even halfway through writing Seduced By The Storm

Trance shows up briefly at the end of that book, so it’s not like we went, oh, we need to decide who’s next.  No, Trance showed up and was like, I’m next.  And I’m wearing leather. 

So really, who was I to argue?

Of course, Larissa immediately stopped writing Seduced to write the first Ulrika (aka Rik) scene – and lo and behold, she was wearing some leather too.  And she was a shape-shifting wolf.  And Taming was born.

I remember Larissa asking me, what’s Trance’s last name?

I emailed back, Trance.  Like Madonna.  Or Cher.

She emailed back that she hated me.

I emailed her back and told her that I had several more really fun names lined up!  Like Chance.  And…

Well, I can’t give everything away about the next two Sydney books, now can I?

But hey, Larissa came up with Ulrika  and she had some explanation about how the name fit with the roots of the character’s origin, etc.

I tried to tell her that Trance had roots too, but then she gave me that look – you know, the kind you can see even across a computer.

I told you writing the Sydney books together was a lot of fun.

But anyway, back to the name thing – Larissa always gets a bit nervous about names. Okay, sometimes she outright groans at the names I pick (which, come on, how fun is that?)

I know what you’re saying – look at Larissa’s Demonica names!  How can she complain about your names with names like Eidolon, Shade and Wraith? She picks weird names too…

I guess this is where I tell you that she emailed me way back in spring 2006 and said, I need demon names.  And I sent her names like Wraith and Shade and Eidolon (which, by the way, is the name of my high school yearbook – and I went to a Catholic school.  A Catholic demon school, obviously.  No, seriously, it means, a Greek concept of a shade or astral double of a living being, so cool for both a yearbook and a demon!)…so when people complain about the weird Larissa demon names, I giggle to myself.

What?  At least I’m honest.

Maybe it’s because I’ve got a husband named Zoo that I like nicknames.  Most of my characters have normal names but go by their nicknames.

Well, except for Creed. And Hex. And Trance. 

Even Larissa’s husband, when suggesting names to her, will say, this is a Stephanie-esque name….

Of course, I always like them.

There’s just something about a strong, cool nickname that does it for me.  Of course, I also like some good, old-fashioned names, like Jake.  But that’s a whole other story.  About SEALs.   Fully formed ones at that.

What about you?  What’s your favorite name for a hero or heroine?  Has there ever been a character where you loved the name but didn’t particularly like the character, or does the name play a large part in forming your opinion of a character?

Leave your answer in the comments to be eligible to win a choice from Sydney’s backlist – Riding the Storm, Unleashing The Storm, Seduced By The Storm or Hot Nights, Dark Desires!

For more information

on Sydney Croft & her books you can visit her website at: http://www.sydneycroft.com/index.php

on Stephanie Tyler & her books you can visit her website at: http://www.stephanietyler.com/index.php


31 Responses

  1. Hi! This was a very interesting read. I don’t really think a lot about character’s name, as long as I know how to pronounce it. I hate when I’m not sure how to read it, then I go to the Internet (thank God for that invention) and try to find it – not always possible, I have to tell you. Anyway, some names are more special or they sound nicer so they stick in your had for a long time, others I forget as soon as I close the book. But I suppose the same is with the characters and plots – some stay, some go away. 🙂

  2. Hi Greta and Stephanie! Great interview! I love the unusual names and the paranormal genre seems to give plenty of opportunity for them. I can’t begin to pick a favorite hero name, there’s way too many to choose from. Acheron, Rhage, Ender, Wraith. All drool worthy. As long as the hero can live up to his kick-ass name, it works 🙂

    BTW, fully formed SEALS have given me a lot of daydream material for those boring moments at work this week *g*

  3. Hi Stephanie!

    Great post! 🙂

    My favorite name for a hero in a novel is “Devereux”, from Lynda Hilburn’s, “The Vampire Shrink” and “Dark Harvest”. Of course I’m in love with Devereux so maybe that is part of it. lol

    And, yes I’ve not liked a character but loved the name. But, oh well. lol

    Don’t enter me in the draw – I have all the Syd books – they rock by the way!

    Warm Regards

  4. Hmm. Not sure I have a favorite hero/heroine name. I gotta say that the Black Daggerhood Brotherhood naming thing (hey, let’s add an H here or there) drives me a little nuts.

  5. Great post! I really don’t have a favorite name and the name play doesn’t effect my opinion of a character. What effects my opinion of the character is how the character is protrayed. I do know that when reading I like to be able to pronounce the names.

  6. Morning all!

    Frana, you’re good that you look up the pronunciation – I just go with whatever I think it’s supposed to sound like (and I’m usually wrong, of course 🙂 And I totally agree – when a book / character sticks, it sticks no matter what. Like Linda Howard’s Wolf Mackenzie…

    Lillie – the fully formed SEALs thing just makes me laugh every time! Here’s to lots of daydream material….

    Lea, that’s a great name! It’s so different and sexy…I’d buy that book based on the name…

    Hey Chris! I’ve heard lots of people say the same thing about the H’s in the brotherhood names…but hey, no one’s going to forget them 🙂

    Becky, agreed…sometimes a great character portrayal can make me ‘like’ a name that I previously didn’t like..

  7. Great post! I have always been fascinated by how authors choose the names of their characters. I read a lot of historical romances and I think my favorite hero name is Sebastian, the name of the hero in the first Cynsters book I read by Stephanie Laurens. And for my favorite heroine name, I’d have to go with Scarlet….from my all-time favorite book GWTW.

  8. Hey all. No names really come to mind but I love those one name wonders. Yes like Trance. He sounds dark and brooding and totally HOT. The name helps me form the character in my mind. We all have preconceived notions of what people with certain names look like. Names carry personalities that we associate with past experiences.

  9. Karen, GWTH is one of my all-time favs as well. It might actually be time for a reread. And I love the name Sebastian and can’t use it since I know a Sebastian…it’s hard for me to use names of people I know since I don’t want to picture them when I’m writing, if that makes sense…

    *waves to Brandy* Absolutely! I think certain names, like songs, can just bring on a certain feeling…and yeah, Trance is brooding. And hot 🙂

  10. Great discussion…I love your comment about how you couldn’t use Sebastian (one of my faves also) because you know someone named that. I also like unusual names that you don’t come across every day. I also like names that start with an I or a Z (very odd of me).

  11. One of my favorite names was Stryker! Enjoyed the post today.

  12. I have a soft spot for the name Jamie (James). Never particularly liked that name until I read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, but ever since then it is one of my altime favs even though it is old-fashioned.

  13. Roarke! Love that name and I love that character. It fits him so well. I also like names Wraith, Acheron, Zarek, and Dash. I like the name Stryker but don’t care for the character.

  14. Claire from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. The name seems to match the character. I don’t know if I’d like it if I didn’t like the character.

  15. Personally – I think Larissa needs to name one of her demons Jake – maybe a vampire 🙂 But she keeps telling me that you would never go for it 🙂

  16. You know, I can’t really say that I have any favorite names for a hero or heroine. But when a name is too complicated and doesn’t come out right in my head when I’m reading, it really does bother me a little. I just can’t seem to get into the flow of the book. Or the name may not match my idea of the character, or my perception of the character. So yes, I think a characters name can make a difference.

  17. Jake and Cade is my fave name for a hero.

  18. Heroine — Rhiannan
    Hero- Maddox

  19. Hi Syd!
    Ok I’m thinking! Roarke, LOL
    I don’t think anyone will use that hero’s name!

    Heroine: Cathryn
    Hero: Cord

  20. Hi Stephanie and Greta~

    Great interview and Stephanie, I absolutely love your names!! Wraith is actually one of my favorite names right now. I am so looking forward to Taming the Fire. I have loved all…with the exception of the story in the anthology… the ACRO stories and hope that you guys keep them coming.!

    Have a great weekend!

  21. Stephanie always shared the most fascinating information, especially for someone who just LOVES all the behind-the-scenes stuff like me. Thank y’all so much!

    I have a HUGE thing for names. I don’t even know if it’s a real thing, but I have a sort of love or passion for them, how they’re inspired, what they say about a person. There aren’t any character names in particular that jump out at me right now, but I have always loved the unique ones found in the Sydney Croft ACRO series (and, well, Annika and Creed are my FAVORITES :D). There’s nothing better than a powerful name.

  22. Hi Steph!!! I can’t wait to read these books. I actually have book 1, two copies one for the Brenda Novak auction goodie pack I’m doing and one for myself.

    I love add names, my favorite right now is probably still Sin from Kinley MacGregor and Ash from Sherrilyn Kenyon(same woman but different series).

    Humm a character who’s name I liked, I can’t think of one right not,but then I’ve been known to change a name because it just didn’t fit, or like if they used my baby girl’s name and sex came up I couldn’t handle it so I changed the girls name in my mind……..

    what a great post!!!!

  23. Great post! As far as favorite names. I don’t have a favorite just prefer that it not be complicated.

  24. I love names and unusual ones are GREAT. I think it is SO funny that you helped Larissa with the unusual ones. heehee

    And I just have to…SEALS!!!!!

    My favorite name right now is Magnus. He isn’t a Seal, but he is military. His real name is Joe, so I’m with you on nicknames. 😀

  25. Amy Katherine – I have a preference for Z names too – mainly in real life tho ;0

    Teresa W – You must have psychic abilities, because that’s the name of the hero in Syd’s book 6! I believe Larissa’s husband picked that one out and I immediately loved it!

    Booklover – I really like both James and Jamie – they’re both pretty classic and have strong connotations to them. In fact, in my trilogy, I have a Jamie – she’s a female, tho 🙂

    Lisa F – Dash isn’t one I’ve heard before. Oh, I think I hear Larissa groaning in the distance….

  26. chey – I love that name too – I actually have a friend with a beautiful little girl named Claire, so I can’t use it, but it so suits her…

    Greta – I can see it now – Jake would make a nice demon…

    Barb P, I really do know exactly how you feel. Sometimes, I rename the character a bit in my head if i can to help me get through it…

    Amy S- well, you know Jake is one of mine :):)

  27. Hey Sarah! My web designer’s daughter is actually named Rhiannon – what a gorgeous name – and, of course, I love the song as well…

    Hey LoriT! I hope you like Taming – I think it’s one of our more emotional books…we’ve got 2 more after this one for sure, plus an short story with Ani and reed 🙂

    *waves to Tiffany* One of my favorite things to do is to look through baby naming books, because I do try to match names with character traits, you know? I used to do that when I taught with certain books, because certain YA books had such great names that went with the stories….

    WendyK – I’m SO with you on the kid name thing – the only reason I got through Alison Brennan’s first book (beyond the fact that it was awesome) was that the woman’s name was first introduced to me as Rowan, and not Lily, which is my daughter’s name. And OMG – I totally owe you books for the auction – please email me again with your addy if it’s not too late – I was trying to wait and see if I’d have ARCs, but I can mail out Syd stuff now!!!

  28. Hey Rhonda! I like complicated, but I’m with you in that I don’t like frustrating readers…

    *waves to Jambrea* SEALs!!!!!!!!

    You can never say that enough. Oh, and this Magnus intrigues me – is he a RL man?

  29. Caffey, how did I miss your comment? I love the name Cathryn, but it’s my confirmation name and I have several aunts with that name. It’s why I shortened it to Catie for Bat’s story…OH – and Cord – he was a big soap hero years ago! Nice name, for sure 🙂

  30. i have not urun into a name i didn ot like. hav e apiaid attentin to names. just read the stories. your names are good with me.

  31. Nope…Magnus is all in my mind. 😀 I’m working on him now so I can share. 😀

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