It’s my pleasure to welcome Morgan Wyatt today. Morgan’s the author of sexy romances with alpha heroes and strong, independent heroines. Help Morgan name her new hero for a chance to win a $10 Starbucks or Amazon gift card…suggest your choice in the comments below. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on Monday, June 10.
Never underestimate the power of a name. Back a few years ago when I was dating I met men who often didn’t use their given name. They weren’t married or in the witness protection program, either. Instead, they were attempting to project an image with one word. We usually decide on how we will interact with someone in less than ten seconds. Depending on the person, you decide if they will be a friend, an enemy, a lover, or unimportant in your future.
Think about this the next time you go somewhere. Often you make eye contact with other people, but immediately look away because the people do not hold any significance for you. Before we meet people, we often hear their name and form an impression. Your co-worker or friend wants to fix you up with her cousin. How would you react if his name were Lawrence?
Immediately you might think the name sounds stuffy or old. You might picture a man with muttonchops sideburns smoking a pipe. Worse yet, he’d insist that you call him Larry. You end up saying that you will be out of town that weekend.
The same friend ever anxious to promote your love life, informs you that her husband’s brother Hannibal is single. You murmur your apologies as you try to control your shudders. Unfortunately, movies have tainted names like Jason and Damien too.
Other names just have low energy. It is hard to get excited about someone named Eugene, Wilbur, Elmer or Harold. It brings to mind an earnest young man trapped in the fifties.
Ambiguous gender names are sometimes confusing too. It is hard to consider a fellow named Sydney, Robyn or Cary as very hetero when they share the same name as your girlfriends.
Therefore, I am back to the men who pick a name for their dating profile to attract women. Different names attract different women. Alexander may want to be perceived as a more social animal and goes with Alex. Daniel opts for Dan, which he thinks sounds more rugged.
Women can carry off exotic names, while most men can’t. A survey that polled sexy male names listed relative common names including David, Michael, Sean, Clint and Brandon.
Never underestimate the power of a name. I wanted to like a character name Pea in a novel I read, but it was difficult. It wasn’t her real name, but an insulting nickname. Her refusal to use a decent name made her a weak character.
Naming our villains take more subtlety. Disney got away with naming one of its villainess, Malevolence, which is a very cool name. It would be the equivalent of naming one of our mean girl characters, extraordinarily bad girl. Accept that there are things Disney can do that we can’t.
Time matters too when naming your character. I decided my hero Dr. Brad Korman in GONE sounded too old for his age. I renamed him Ryan in honor of Ryan Gosling. Just a name change made his appearance change too in my novel. He was always a good guy, but now he went up a few degrees on the hotness scale.
Next time, you think names don’t matter. Remember all the men trying to find dates who transformed Carl into Adam or Norman into Edward. My husband’s name is Scott, which definitely influenced me when deciding if to date him. Scott is a strong, authoritative name, while retaining some playfulness.
As for me, I am always on the search for the perfect hero and heroine names. My newest WIP in the paranormal series features a college student named Nora who finds her destiny a hundred years in the past. What do you think a good name for her romantic interest should be? ( I am not totally stuck with the name, Nora, either.) Winner wins a $10 Starbucks or Amazon gift card (winner’s choice.)
Wolfe Jackson is hot on the trail of a domestic terroristic who has been causing havoc and panic by blowing up factories. The trail, although sketchy, has led to a convention in the Midwest. Is it a false trail? Wolfe is unsure, but he knows that a certain blonde named Krista bears investigating.
Krista Harlow finds her life as a principal dull. So bland in fact, she thinks attending the annual principal conference might enliven it. She even harbors secret romantic aspirations. As a principal, she must keep everything strait laced and buttoned down, but that was before she was mistaken for a corporate saboteur and possible murderer.
Wolfe initially approaches the suspect by pretending he knows her. Krista plays along, proving she’s either devilishly clever or she’s really interested in him as a man. The road to restore his credibility is full of dangerous curves.
“Rachel, didn’t you hear me calling?” He stepped closer and put one hand on her arm, sending an arc of electricity through her body.
This is where it got difficult. How well did Rachel know him? If they’d been lovers, she would know him very, very well—definitely well enough to remember his name.
“So sorry, handsome,” Krista purred. “I was thinking about the dress I didn’t buy.”
“Sounds like you. Have you had dinner yet?” He watched her with one expressive eyebrow lifted.
“Um…no.” Krista had doubts about how far she should go with the Rachel thing, but she needed to eat sometime. Why not have dinner with him? Oh sure, it would be a hardship to have dinner with Mr. Stud Muffin.
He cupped her elbow and guided her in the direction of the steak house where the aroma of mesquite-flavored beef enticed shoppers. There was a significant wait so they moved to the bar. A few people called out greetings as they entered. She listened closely in effort to catch his name. Krista was sure his name wasn’t buddy or friend—no help there. He ordered oversized margaritas for both of them. Krista was about to tell him iced tea when she remembered Rachel might love margaritas.
“Wolfe, Wolfe Jackson. You don’t remember me, do you?”
His grin was devastating against his tanned skin. He reminded Krista of a pirate, the swashbuckling type as opposed to the peg-legged ones. She was lost. Perhaps someone would scrape her up as she melted at his feet. Krista shook her head since talking was more than she could handle at that moment.
“We met at my cousin’s wedding, Samuel Levinson. I believe he married your friend Ruth, or is she your cousin?” Wolfe placed his hand over hers on the bar.
Krista nodded eagerly at the verbal lifeline he’d thrown her while she tried to ignore the heat radiating from his hand. “She was, um, is, my friend. I don’t see her much since I moved.” He might wonder if she never talked to her cousin. Krista gulped the margarita in an attempt to alleviate the sudden heat streaking through her body, but the alcohol raised her body temperature instead. Not one of her better ideas. The liquor singed her empty stomach like three-alarm chili, while giving her an air of flirtatiousness she normally lacked. She remembered why she didn’t drink—she couldn’t hold her liquor.
The bartender lingered nearby and asked if they needed anything. Krista looked Wolfe up and down boldly and knew she had everything she needed. Wolfe’s wink caught her unawares, and she almost slipped off the stool. In a flash, he was beside her, wrapping an arm around her waist. For an instant, she leaned into him, inhaling the smell of sandalwood, soap, and a hint of gasoline. Then she remembered she was supposed to be sitting on a stool not oozing all over him like a melted ice cream bar and jerked upright. What kind of girl was Rachel? Krista was secretly hoping Rachel was a touch fast. Fast sounded superb.
A little about Morgan:
Morgan K Wyatt, raised on a steady diet of superheroes, believed she could fly at a very young age. After using trees, barn lofts, sliding boards, and even a second story window as launch pads, she found her flying skills were limited to fast and downward. By the age of nine, her dreams to be a superhero needed some modifications, which caused her to turn to writing and horseback riding as alternatives to flying.
At the age of twenty, she had another chance at superhero greatness as being one of the few female soldiers trained for combat. The fact that women will be able to serve in combat soon indicates that all the witnesses to the grenade incident have retired. The grenade incident didn’t prevent her two sons or daughter-in-law from enlisting in the service. Having different last names probably helped.
Morgan recently retired from teaching special needs students to write fulltime, instead of in the wee hours of the night. With the help of her helpful husband and loyal hound, she creates characters who often grab plot lines and run with them. As for flying, she prefers the airlines now.
19 thoughts on “Welcome Guest Author Morgan Wyatt – The Power of a Name”
Thanks for hosting me. 🙂
Fascinating thoughts about names — having a weird one myself, names have always had special interest to me. Mine is inherited, a Dutch nickname that’s on my birth certificate! I hadn’t thought so much about men’s names — I’d probably rather go with Lawrence rather than Larry! But that’s probably because I write historical, and the older names appeal to me.
What is Beppie short for? I had a Dutch grandmother named Angelique. People ended up calling her Angela. Amanda Quick picks out amazing historical names that resonates with the time period and sounds alpha too. Thanks for commenting.
Hi, Morgan! Since your heroine is going 100 years into the past, I googled popular baby names near the end of the 19th century. The ones I liked best were William (you could go with Will) or Samuel. I used the name Will as the hero of my 2009 Civil War time travel romance. He was a hot Confederate captain. lol
Isn’t it amazing how William has retained popularity. What is the name of your book? I alway enjoy reading about southern gentlemen. Thanks for commenting.
Hi again, Morgan. It’s Erin’s Rebel.
I love the name William. I named the hero in one of my Civil War trilogy Will. It’s one of my favorite names….it’s quite timeless.
It is nice, I like Joseph too.
Men in the past more often were known by their last names or their peerage titles than their first names.i like jason, Grayson, Henry, William. 100 years ago USA 1913 or Europe of 1913 on the brink of WWI?
Many at that time were named Woodrow and Calvin. George was a popular British name for over a hundred years. I am not fond of it. My husband’s name was Samuel but he was called Frank which was a diminitive of his middle name. His father was a Samuel . Sam is fine Sammy etc or Samuel not so fine. Still, even 100 years ago respectable men were known by surnames and cowboys, miners. etc. were known to friends by nicknames.
(I do not like Starbucks but would love an Amazon card.)
I understand about George. It always seems like telvision, even cartoons, named the character George to indicate he’s stupid. The surnames I understand, but Nora has to call him something as they become closer.
Did you know George Washington forbade Martha to ever call him by his first name? He was very proper! I found this out when I went to Mount Vernon.
The USA was likely to have more Biblical names and presidential or political names. In England babies were named for royals or boys were given the mother’s surname as a first name.
I also like the other suggestuon of Clayton and Nathaniel.
Of course there is always the man named Shirley or Beverley– once surnames , then masculine names and then taken over by females. Laughing about a name or having the man hate his name and never want itused. is also possible. Even 100 years ago a wife wouldn’t use her husbands first name in public. It really is a rather recent thing for everyone to be first naming every one.
Interesting thoughts on naming characters. Of course, any individual reaction is influenced by people we’ve known in the past. The handsomest guy in our senior class was named Larry, so I do have a fondness for that particular name 🙂 In my medievals, I had a hard time coming up with both male and female names. For your 100 year past hero, there’s always Clay, (my grandfather’s middle name was Clayton, an old family name), Nate for Nathaniel, Luck with the new book.
I had a student named Clayton. Remember Deep Space Nine? The shapeshifter was called Odo, which was a popular name in the 15th century.I am not sure if I could past the image of the shapeshifter. LOL Thanks for commenting.
I am talkative today.
This reminds me of naming our three chilldren. I would suggest a name and my husband would say”I knew a girl by that name, What a brat.” or”The biggets bully in the school had that name.”
I would do the same. It is a wonder our children were named before they were a year old.In histrical fiction one has to find a name that might have been used then, The name usually has to fit the character unless part of the story is that it doesn’t.
Morgan, I’m so happy you were my guest today. What an interesting article! Names certainly do have vivid connotations in our minds, and they’re often very personal. Thanks for posting 🙂
Interesting post. I write in the Regency period and few things will throw me out of the story as quickly as an inappropriately named character. For mine I have two books, one with names of the period and the other of English surnames. I tweeted.
Thanks Ella. Where do you get your names? I actually read the census report for Rebel Hearts, which made me change Audley to Sewell. Did you know Audley is a derivative of Dudley. I found that out while visiting England, Over 21 Dudleys lost their heads. You can see why they might want to disassociate with the name. I was curious because my maiden name is Dudley.
Nancy Mayer is the winner with Clayton. I already started calling my hero Clayton. I will need your email address Nancy and your preference. Feel free to email me. email@example.com
Okay, Nancy alerted me she was only agreeing with Barbara Bettis choice of Clayton, which means we have two winners then. Nancy deserves a prize for her integrity.