It's All in a Name
Today, you're in for a treat, because fellow author, Sarah Anne Crouch, is taking over my blog. She's giving you some insight into where she got her characters' names. See what you think.
I truly love being an author, and it still feels a little surreal after publishing my third book. My favorite parts of the job are when I get in “the zone” and words and ideas just flow out of me, when readers tell me how much they love my stories, or when I get to collaborate and problem-solve with other writers.
One of my least favorite aspects of being a writer is coming up with names. I’m so bad at it. My husband and I picked names for our kids years in advance, so we’d have plenty of time to get it right. But I have to name my characters, their hometowns, their favorite musicians, the restaurant they visit on their first date, etc. It’s just part of the job. And if other authors are anything like me, they don’t want to help you come up with ideas. I once saw a popular Christian writer post on Facebook asking for name ideas. My immediate thought was “If I come up with a good name, I’m using it myself!”
So here’s how I did it for “Where Love is Planted.”
How I named Trammel, Texas
My husband was born and raised in Texas, and I spent the first part of my life there. So together, we felt qualified to pick a town name that sounded truly Texan. We both got on Google Maps and started searching other states for names we liked. Then we searched to make sure those towns didn’t already exist in Texas. Of the names that were left, we both decided we liked the sound of Trammel best. I also tested it out on a few other Texans before I put it in print. Now I feel like it fits the tiny West Texas town perfectly.
How I named Ivy and her family
Back in the days of phone books, business owners would often pick names that would get them at the beginning of the list alphabetically. So I thought, what if the flower shop was named after the family and they happened to have an “A” name? Thus, Aaronson Flowers and Gifts was born. A double “A” gets them to the very top of the list of flower shops!
Daphne is a Greek name meaning “laurel.” In Greek mythology, Daphne was a water nymph who escaped Apollo by turning into a laurel tree. I thought maybe in the Aaronson family, Daphne named her daughter Ivy because it is a plant name, like laurel, that isn’t too on the nose, like “Rose” or “Lily” might have been (although then I could’ve named the character after my daughters!). I decided Daphne’s dad might name his son, Luke, after the apostle. I named Ivy’s dad Jonathan, Jon for short, but his name didn’t actually make it to the book, so I may reuse it later!
Other names I had to invent
Grant Keller- I always envisioned Grant looking like Grant Ward, played by Brett Dalton, in Agents of SHIELD. No hidden meanings here, haha.
Packer, Hughes, and Price- I just Googled different combinations of last names until I didn't get any hits. It sounds real, though!
Trammel Coffee Co.- This one was very straightforward. I usually have a much harder time coming up with restaurant names.
Forest, River, and Road- The name of Ivy and Grant’s favorite bluegrass band. This was the most fun. Have you ever noticed that pretty much all bluegrass band names come from something in nature, like a forest or river?
Everyone else- The US Census is my favorite resource for character names. I just scroll the list of popular names from a given year until I find something I like.
Now you know my secret. Naming characters and places is an area I still have to work on. I’ve started putting together a spreadsheet to keep track of names I’ve used and new ones I like. Hopefully by the next book, it won’t be such a difficult process!
Do you have a favorite name from a book? Have any suggestions of a name I should use? I’m open to suggestions!
Where Love is Planted (Sarah Anne Crouch)
Ivy Aaronson is surrounded by family at their flower shop in West Texas-just the way she likes it. But she's given up hope on ever finding a man who understands her choices. When attorney Grant Keller orders flowers for his mother, Ivy wonders if maybe there are indeed some considerate men left in the world until she learns Grant's relationship with his parents is less than ideal. How can Ivy ever find love when every man she meets puts career over family?
Sarah Anne Crouch lives in Arkansas with her husband, three children, and thousands of books. She always wanted to be an author, but spent some time as a teacher, earned a degree in library science, and makes feeble attempts to corral her small children as a stay-at-home mom. Sarah loves reading books, recipes, piano music, and emails from readers.
2/16/2023 07:04:12 am
Thanks for having me on your blog today, Amy!
Amy R Anguish
2/16/2023 08:07:28 am
Glad to have you!
2/16/2023 07:55:37 am
I check lists of baby names, or sometimes I use names I've heard and like. It's a challenge to find the right names for everything in a novel.
Amy R Anguish
2/16/2023 08:08:11 am
That's a great way to find names, Beth!
Sarah Anne Crouch
2/16/2023 08:11:43 pm
I like to use Nameberry too, a baby name website. Sometimes they have helpful lists.
2/16/2023 08:57:08 am
I loved the use of Daphne and Ivy! Daphne was subtle and of course plant shop owners would name their child a beautiful name like Ivy!
2/16/2023 01:15:44 pm
Agreed! I thought those were perfect names.
Sarah Anne Crouch
2/16/2023 08:12:54 pm
I’m glad you liked them! :)
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