The Name Game

Naming characters is always a challenge. As a teacher for going on 15 years, it makes it even more challenging. I am always being asked by students if I named a character after them.

Sigh… No. šŸ™‚

But, there are a few connections to the names andĀ  I may have shared over time, but for those of you who don’t know, here goes.

Tommy: He is named after the song “Coward of the County” by Kenny Rogers. My dad always listened to that when I was growing up and I never forgot the story of the quiet boy who lost his father at a young age and loved a girl so fiercely that when she was attacked, he proved to everyone what she had always known- he had the heart of a champion. In the song, Tommy’s love was “Becky”, but I had my own ideas about that one. Tommy is a man who is content to be on the sidelines, but has a heart big enough to hold the ocean. He is my hero. Besides, you should always look out for those strong silent types šŸ™‚

Brittany/ Barbara Rose: Brittany isn’t of great significance to me, but Barbara Rose is. My Aunt Barbara was my mom’s older sister and such an amazing woman. She made us laugh and love and through watching my mom and her sister, I developed much of the relationship between Tommy and Julie. My Aunt passed away from ALS and it has forever changed every member of our family. The name Barbara is in honor of her. Rose comes from my grandma. My dad’s mother Rose was one of the fiercest and strongest women I have ever known. She raised three children while my grandfather was in the military and she always taught me to stand on my own two feet and never be completely dependent on someone else for your happiness. The way she loved and cared for her sister who had Parkinson’s disease was another example to me of family and truly, what matters most. Her sister was Elaine.

Elaine: A character who is a bit more recent, entering in book 12, but so important. Mike needed ties that weren’t horrible and sad. Elaine represents my family- the grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles. She is a survivor and she simply knows what is needed. She is the mother figure Jade never had and the champion Mike always did. She is always ready with coffee and a Danish and she loves her little granddaughters with every fiber of her being. I brought religion into Elaine and Mike’s family because I couldn’t see her without it. It also gave Jade a connection. A family. A home.

Julie: Julie is a combination of two people. My best friend Julie growing up and my grandma Julia. So many of the memories Brittany and Stephanie have growing up come from Julie and me. The butterfly cupcake is an exact memory of how we met, but it was a cake. Julie and I have been friends for 36 years and counting. She is an amazing woman and an amazing mother. My grandma Julia is my muse. She lived with us for my formative years in middle and high school and I have the best memories of coming home from school and watching Another World with her as I had a snack. She was funny and amazing and an inspiration to me. Her birthday was September 24 and mine is September 25 and we always celebrated together. We used to go to restaurants and get a combined percentage off the bill- it was a secret club she and I belonged in and every birthday since she died has been a tribute to her. She passed away when she was 95 and I can only hope she is looking down and smiling at me.

Bill: Most of you know this, but in case you don’t, Bill is named after my dad. IĀ decided to publishĀ this seriesĀ after my dadĀ died in 2009. It was a stunning and shocking loss to all of us and although I had been writing it for years, this was the push I needed to ‘shit or get off the pot’ so to speak. My dad was the best man I could ever hope to know. He and my mom were married for 43 years and were deeply in love when he died. It was too soon and he was only in his mid 60’s, but it taught me a lot about strength and courage. Watching him live was my greatest honor and watching him love my mom was all I ever needed to believe in romance. The way he adored my sister and me showed me true selflessness and I knew, no matter what, there was never anything I could have ever done that would have made him stop loving me. I got my love for animals from my dad and I know he is proud of how his girls have survived. One of the biggest aches in my heart is that he never got to see any of my books. I hope he sees them now.

Mike: Mike is named after the husband of a dear friend. HeĀ passed away too soon and herĀ strength and honorĀ are inspiring. She is a force toĀ be reckoned with and when I write Mike, I think of her and the amazing stories she has told me of the courage and laughter her husband brought to life.

Jack and Stephanie: I just liked them. They really have no other meaning as far as people I know, but there it is. šŸ™‚

Sabrina: Probably the name I get asked about more than any other. People love the nickname “Bee” and so do I. I adored the romance of the movie Sabrina and when I was researching names, I looked up nicknames for each option. I fell in love with ‘Bee’ and it has worked perfectly for her.

Chris, Janet, Josh, Rebecca, Nick: These were hard. I don’t really have any great connection or hatred to these names, but it just worked out that the names fit the characters. I always feel badly when I have a student in class who learns of the names of my villains. I always tell them it’s not personal- and it isn’t.

Jade: There is no deep meaning here, but I always loved the symbolism in the name. Beauty, subtlety, strength and peace.Ā How else could she be named?

Tramp: Tramp comes from my mini schnauzer Moochie. He is the only character who is the exact replica of a real being. Tramp is as important to me as any of the ‘human’ players.

Naomi/Nathan/Tessa/Josie/David/Bridget/Ron/Jenny: All people I have admired in my life.

Evan and Elizabeth: For people who read the classics, you would have recognized Evan’s last nameĀ when he was introduced inĀ Beautiful Disaster. One of my favorite tortured romances is Wuthering Heights and the main character’s last name is Thrushcross. From the way Evan and Liz’s story began, tortured was a good word to use. It’s my mini tribute to Ms. Bronte.

I know I am probably leaving someone out, and if there is someone I forgot and you’re curious, let me know. It’s almost time for a preview into chapter 1 of “Red”.

Are you ready???



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