Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ask Andrew - What's In a Name?

Hi Andrew

How do you decide on the names for the characters in your books?  Do you have a list of names and as you are writing decide which name will fit which personality?


Dear Mary

After writing over a hundred stories, character names are definitely becoming a bit of a struggle.  Some names can be reused while others are so definitive for their stories that I could never reuse them no matter how long ago I wrote the story.  Geoff, Eli, Sean, Red,  When I'm writing a story I try to pick a name that fits the feel I want the character to have.  It doesn't always work, but that's what I try to do.  There are times when I give the character one name to start the story and then change it later.  Dominic is sometimes very helpful with names, as well as titles.

I wish I had a list of names that I want to use, but I don't.  I sometimes think of people I meet or the names of folks I used to work with., but that well is running dry.  Sometimes I use web sites.  For example the Professional Bull Riders web site has a lot of men with unusual names.  A visit can sometimes yield interesting results.   I hate to say it, but mostly I wing it. 

Now there are exceptions.  If I am writing a character with a specific ethnicity, I will check out popular names in that language or country.  For example, when writing A Spirit Without Borders which is set in Liberia, I did extensive research on names for that country so my characters would feel authentic.  I did the same for One Good Deed and The Good Fight stories.  Sometimes alot goes into choosing a name and other times it can be easy and the perfect one appears immediately.  (Red came to me right away, so did Bull)  Either way I try to choose each character name to suit their personality. 

Hugs and love

Ask Andrew is your chance to ask questions of a gay romance author.  The questions can be about the writing process in general, writing sex scenes, gay men, sex, characters in romance, characters having sex... okay you probably get the picture.    I promise to answer your questions as frankly and with as much humor as I possibly can.

So if you have a question, please send it to  This is different from my usual email so your questions don't get lost.  I will answer one question a week.

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