You may recall my December post, when I pondered whether a No-Gift Christmas would work out for my family. I promised to report back and I'm here to say that it worked out pretty well. Except for the "thank you, Mum" and "I love you, honey" gifts which I was assured were not Christmas gifts. Hmmm.
One such gift was this little bundle of cheekiness who arrived a few days prior to Christmas and promptly took up all my time and attention and cuddles. The perfect pre-Christmas gift from my eldest son and daughter-in-law. To distract me from the fact that they're moving to London for several years. (So far the distraction seems to be working!)
At Christmas everyone wanted to know his name. At first I thought Digger was a good fit. He'd already dug his first hole in the garden (and tried to bury his squeaky chook toy) and I liked the idea of a good Aussie name. But, alas, my husband kept calling him Roy.
Fast forward several weeks. Puppy is growing quicker than asparagus and is now totally ruling our lives although no name has stuck. Son has moved to London and during our first FaceTime he mentions going for a run in Richmond Park and the deer which we all remember from this video.
Suddenly my pup is re-christened Fenton and the new name sticks. For no particular reason: he does not chase deer (or sheep) and always comes when he is called. But that's the thing about names, isn't it? Sometimes they just fit for no particular reason.
When starting a new story, it can take me chapters -- and many trial names -- to settle on the right one. And sometimes it is the exact opposite; a character arrives in my mind with the perfect name already attached. If you were to ask me why the name is perfect, chances are I would not have an answer.
That said, there are names that I know will never "fit." Often because of an association with a real person, either someone I know in real life, or a celebrity or fictional character. Point in case: my first published book featured a heroine named Paris. Shortly afterward, Paris Hilton hit the headlines and I wanted to go back and change that name. It no longer sat right with me.
Sometimes -- although not often -- when I'm reading, a character name does not sit right either. Perhaps because I associate that name with a real-life person who has made a remarkably negative impression, perhaps because I feel the name doesn't fit the character's background or age or personality. It can distract me, it can affect my enjoyment of the story, but usually not enough to stop me reading.
Does this ever happen with you? Do character names matter enough that they can influence your enjoyment of a book...or stop you buying a book after reading the blurb?