Would you name your child Viggo?
One of the most exciting aspects of having a baby is picking a name. There are entire websites dedicated to naming baby. Picking names is also one of the fun parts of writing romance novels. Sometimes when I pick a name for a character, I have to change it a few chapters into the book because that character just doesn't fit his/her name as I anticipated. Unfortunately, you don't have that luxury as a parent (although I actually know someone who legally changed her daughter's name when the daughter was about one because the name just didn't fit her!). Happily, both of my boys' names fit them, or maybe they just grew into their names. I have no idea if I'm a "typical" Carol or even what a typical Carol is. I do know that I have a name that fits my age. There were a couple of other Carols when I was growing up. Now I don't know one Carol under a certain age - certainly no children named Carol (although Caroline or Carolyn is more popular now). Names go in and out of fashion just like clothes. Mabel is for women over 65 as is Maude, Doris, Eleanor. I grew up with girls named Lisa, Sandy, Kathy, Rachel. I think there are a lot of 30-somethings named Jennifer, Amber, Jessica, Stacey. My sons' friends have names like Calista, Sydney, Maddy (short for Madeline), Eden. And boys' names follow similar trends. Last year there were three Zachs or Zacharies on my son's soccer team.
What causes trends in names? I think unusual celebrity names become popular. I swear I never heard of a real person named Liam (before actor Liam Neeson), Jackson (before singer Jackson Brown), Aidan (before actor Aidan Quinn), Peyton (before that psycho character Rebecca DeMornay played), Madison (before that movie Splash). Soaps also influence naming trends. I remember Kayla became a very popular name after a very popular soap character. What's next? Viggo? (My excuse for including Viggo's picture!)
A lot of romance heroes have extremely masculine or unusual names (the names of Scottish heroes are a whole other topic!). If they're not particularly unusual, we tend to go for the short brusque, alpha male name - Jack, Nick, Matt, Luke. I confess, my editor had to rein me in on one of my names. My Feb. Intrigue, Circumstantial Memories, features three brothers, all of whom get their very own book. The dad's name is Ralph, so the brothers are Ryder, Rafe, and... Rod. I really wanted Ryder, Rafe, and Ridge, but my editor nixed Ridge, with the comment that it was just too weird. She obviously doesn't watch soaps because Ridge is either a character's name on a soap (not one I actually watch) or the actor's name. But I loved Ridge, so I used the name for a hero in one of my upcoming Red Sage erotic romances. Have to laugh though - I read a reader's comment recently on an Amazon discussion about romance novels, and she was complaining about the heroes' names. She wrote that if she read one more romance novel with a hero named Rafe, she was going to scream! LOL Not only do I have a Rafe coming up in one of my Intrigues, I named the hero of Aphrodite's Fire Rafe. I can't believe I did that! I mean, who uses the same name twice??
Some of my favorite hero names come from Victoria Holt's books, especially the books she set in Cornwall - Conan, Petroc, Jago and then Redvers, Napier - I just loved all those names and they added to the romanticism of the books. I doubt if my editor will let me get away with Petroc...
So what are some of your favorite hero (and heroine) names? Which ones make you want to scream? Does your name suit you?