Who loves their name? Who hates their name? I am in between; I neither love my name nor hate it, but I do find it to be all too common. It seems like every fifth person I meet shares my name, and while that is not necessarily a bad thing (it is a great icebreaker), I’m of the mind that part of one’s individuality has to do with their name. For that reason, I love the names that are creative and unusual; names that one does not see or hear everyday. When it comes to writing and authorship, the art of naming is one of the greatest skills that one could have; naming involves not only the title of the novel, which is the first part of the story to be read by the audience, but also the names of characters, whom must become real and lifelike individuals for the reader; part of the character’s ability to be seen as a real person, is their name.
The news is full of stories now on what celebrities have named their children; some make individuals simply shake their head in confusion. Why? Where do they come up with some of these names? When did this trend start? I’d like to think that the people that had a hand in this phenomena, were authors. Think about it! The power of naming in a novel is a great skill; authors must choose names for their characters that they believe are fitting. As I have already stated above, this skill is essential in creating a real, and life-like character for the readers; people can read a name and simply write off the character because they cannot take a name like that seriously. I’m not saying that this is right, but it does happen and an author must keep this in mind when writing. The art of naming takes great skill.
One author, in particular, has a great skill in naming her characters! Very often, she chooses to take the harder route, and gives a number of her characters strange and unusual names; the fact is though, this is part of the reason that I keep coming back to her. Her skill in naming makes her characters all the more lovable; it gives them a personality that she is able to portray simply by giving them such a name; this author is Sandra Brown.
I was reading some of her older works, when this trend sort of came to me; I had never really noticed it before, but Brown seemed to have a preference for the weird and unusual names. More often than not, she avoided common names such as Ashley, John, Mary, and George, and chose to go with the more flamboyant. Focusing on only the books that I’ve read from her, the list below shows some of her trophy names.
Tough Customer – Dodge Hanley
Smash Cut – Creighton Wheeler
Smokescreen – Raley Gannon
Play Dirty – Griff Burkett
Chill Factor – Dutch Burton
Ricochet – Judge Cato Laird
White Hot – Sayre Lynch, Huff Hoyle, and Beck Merchant
Hello, Darkness – Dean Malloy
The Crush – Wick Threadgill (one of my favourites!)
Envy – Parker Evans
The Switch – ‘Chief’ Hart
Unspeakable – Jack Sawyer
Fat Tuesday – Burke Basile and Pinkie Duvall
Exclusive – Gray Bondurant (becoming one of my favourite male names!)
Charade – Alex Pierce
Where There’s Smoke – Key Tackett (another of my favourites)
Mirror Image – Tate Rutledge
Best Kept Secrets – Reede Lambert
Well, there are some fairly common names in that list, but Sandra Brown, as has been shown, has a propensity towards the unusual names; maybe this adds a little romance and mystery to the characters, as the unusual names are generally male (except for Sayre in White Hot); in a strange sort of way, the name Key and Wick, for instance, are pretty sexy 😉 The names are also memorable, and as such, make the character memorable; this is not to say that characters with common names will not be memorable, as it is part of the skill of the author that makes a character so. Sandra Brown has a skill for picking the most unusual names, and it is that talent, among others, that I enjoy when reading her novels.