What’s in a name?

“Where do you come up with the names for your books?” That’s a question I get a lot. Honestly, if a name doesn’t just come to me, I grab this:

So many names to choose from.
Old Faithful

I flip open a random page, close my eyes and point. Somewhere along that area will be the name I pick. Obviously, sometimes the name I point to is sooooo not right for the character, but I usually find a good name on that page or the next. Arbitrary name selection is how I roll; unless it pops into my noggin from the first time they need a name. I hate having to name characters. It slows the thought train having to pick a name so when one just comes to me, I’m a  happy camper.

Such was the case for the main character of my next book, Doppelganger. I knew immediately who she was going to be:


Julie “Jules” Green. I named her after my writer pal, Julie Cassar, and she totally knows it. She was one of the very first people to beta read this book so I made sure to get her thumbs up before attaching her name to the final copy. It seemed fitting to name this character Jules, because the real Julie is the one who gave me the idea for the story. I was in line, at the grocery store, texting Julie about the fact I had writer’s block after finishing Enigma. She asked me what I was doing at that very moment, and I told her the boring details of unloading my cart, and she said, “So what if your character was in line at the grocery store and she looked up at the tabloids and saw a picture of her.” Boom. Doppelganger was born.

Last names I tend to rely on google as that does require a bit of research to make sure the surname makes sense with the first name and where the story takes place. In first drafts, I’ll put that research in brakes: [insert last name here] and keep writing. Those details are better left for the editing phases, not the first draft “writing phase” when everything you write is gold (or, at least, you tell yourself it is so the inner editor doesn’t stop you every two minutes and cripple you with self-doubt.)

For each book, I keep a journal. It lists the character’s name, specifics about them, like hair color, eye color, job etc (because I KNOW I’ll forget the small details like that.) The journal also holds the timeline and notes, pictures I find that remind me of the location, etc. For the character picture, it was easy. I based Jules looks on my real friend, Julie.


Tall, blond hair, blue eyes. Easy peasy.

The other characters? Well, you’ll just have to stay tuned to the blog. 🙂


Doppelganger releases Feb. 7, 2017

You can pre-order it here:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2hXJCCb 
ibooks: http://apple.co/2k3K0LY
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2iLJx1B
Nook: http://bit.ly/2iVELzY

Danielle Bannister, Author, and character name generator.


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