Girls Write Out
Monday, May 17, 2010

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME
I'm really picky about character names. I bet you had no idea how we authors slave over our character names, did you? So here I am, nearly done with The Lightkeeper's Ball and I'm still not sure of my hero's name. First he was Clarke, then he was Sam. But I'm still not sure that's the right name for him. Part of the problem is this is a historical. Do you realize what names were popular in the early 1900s? Names like Harry, George, John (that was taken in book 1) Frank, Henry. Um, see a hero's name in there? I didn't think so. So I'm struggling. Sam seems a little staid for my guy. His dream is to build an airplane that lands on water. That's pretty daring. I'm good with my heroine's name. She's Olivia and it suits her really well. But Sam, well, I just don't know.

This picture is one of my very favorite. I love the way Alexa is looking at her Poppy and he's looking back. And it also illustrates my point about names. If we'd named her Melissa, it just wouldn't be the same, would it? Names change our entire perception of a person. Don't you sometimes wonder what name God has for us?

So here's my question: what do you think of when you hear the name SAM? And I'm open to suggestions. Here's a website I've used to look for names: http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/decades/names1880s.html but feel free to brainstorm on your own for me! :-)

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 8:56 PM  
  Comments (52)
 
 
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52 Comments:
At 10:13 PM, Blogger Barb said...

To me, Sam says down to earth, regular guy. When I hear the name Henry, I may think Harrison Ford in Regarding Henry.

 
At 10:24 PM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

I like Adam, Clayton if you call him Clay, Nicholas shortened to Nick, Harrison, and Jesse.

 
At 10:52 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

You could call him Samuel if you're set on that name, but since my ex was named Sam, I'm not on fire for the name. Won't stop me from reading the book, though.

 
At 11:04 PM, Blogger Ruthie said...

To me the name Sam denotes a ordinary guy, not a hero-type. It's kind of a "plain-Jane" name.

How about Edward, Edwin, or Andrew? The first two really seem to go with Olivia. They also give me the impression of royalty, or at least an elegant, dashing man. (I don't know the plot of your story so I have no clue if you are looking for a "dashing" name.) As I think about it, I think I like Edwin the best, followed by Edward and then Andrew. (Of course, my grandson's name is Andrew so that may color my opinion more than a little! LOL)

 
At 4:44 AM, Blogger jel said...

what about Tristan

 
At 5:58 AM, Blogger Cathy Shouse said...

I see your dilemma. I did a name search for the period and the selection is a bit dull, in my opinion.

I like Benjamin or Ben but your description of the guy, whatever name you use, will make the difference.

 
At 7:33 AM, Blogger Rachel Overton said...

Maybe his parents were recent immigrants and he's named after a grandfather from the "old country." You could liven up his name by using something popular in Germany or Sweden or wherever his family is from????

 
At 8:06 AM, Blogger Ruth said...

Francis? Ben?

 
At 9:03 AM, Blogger valariemccoy said...

I like Gage, it is strong and somewhat mysterious

 
At 9:03 AM, Blogger Charlie Waller said...

William is a strong name that transcends period. Coupled with a good middle name like Charles, you get a hero with a flash of regal appeal. To bring it down to earth a bit, Mom and sis call him Billy while Dad calls him Son.

 
At 9:09 AM, Blogger valariemccoy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9:15 AM, Blogger Jaime said...

I like Sam - if he was a farmer. :) A pilot implies daring, adventure, flirtation (maybe he's not flirtatious but every pilot i've met is!) :) Is he Japanese? The Japanese name "Sho" means "to take flight". Lol I'm not helping am I?

I like Edward - shortened to Eddie. It sounds playful, adventuresome and yet when used as "Edward" it sounds sophisticated. "Daniel" is also a strong name ... but I'm partial to that cause it's my DH's middle name and means "God is my Judge" which to me is heroic in and of itself.

Ok. I'm done now.

 
At 9:16 AM, Blogger valariemccoy said...

I also like Noah and Everett. Both names sound strong and compassionate.

 
At 9:21 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

I'm so glad I asked you all! It's clear you don't think Sam works either. And since Denise is offering names and she's the only one so far who has read it, I'm guessing she doesn't think Sam fits either. LOL

I really like Edward but John's little boy from The Lightkeeper's Daughter is named Edward. I'm still chewing on the other suggestions. Keep them coming!

 
At 9:23 AM, Blogger Rachel Hauck said...

I like Harry. I really do, C. One, Prince Harry has given that name a new value.

More and more celebs are using those old fashioned named.

Sam seems everyday, ordinary to me. Clark doesn't feel early 20th Century. Not sure why.

But when I read Harry, something felt right. LOL. I know it's your character, but I'd love a hero named Harry.

Rachel

 
At 9:25 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Hmm, you might be right, Rach. Harry. What do you all think of Harry?

 
At 9:31 AM, Blogger Jaime said...

I like Harry!!! I think it's fabulous!! ... and it's not Japanese so that's probably a better fit. I fully agree with Rachel's assessment too.

 
At 9:42 AM, OpenID Liz H. said...

I like Henry, for one I think Henry and Olivia sound good together and if you look up the original seaplane it was first invented by a man name Henri Fabre. So I like Henry. :) And it doesn't sound plain.

 
At 9:57 AM, Blogger valariemccoy said...

I don't really care for Harry. Doesn't sound like too much of a risk taker. Sounds safe. I still like Noah, Everett, and Gage. Stong, handsome, and playfull names.

 
At 9:59 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Everett was my grandpa. I can't name him Everett without seeing Gramps's face. LOL And Gramps was NOT a risk taker. :-)

 
At 10:14 AM, Blogger Pam S. said...

I don't like Harry. Henry is good, but what would you call him for short--Hen? Peter--and Pete for short? John-Mark? I like Zeke, short for Ezekiel. Daniel's nice, too. I like Daniel the best.

 
At 10:15 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

I don't shorten names in a book. It's too confusing to the readers. :-( Just so you know, a nickname really is a non issue for me.

 
At 11:00 AM, Blogger Abby said...

What about Nicholas and call him Cole? Hey, he could be ahead of his times! Sam is not my favorite name. It's just so bland.

 
At 11:22 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

Not a fan of Sam as your hero's name. Clark is alright.

I like Henry better than Harry. Other old-fashioned names I like would be Arthur, Owen, and Wesley.

And I love the name Olivia! Makes me think of the old Road to Avonlea series. There was an aunt Olivia in that show.

Let us know what you finally decide!

 
At 11:23 AM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

No, no, no! Not HARRY!!! I like Pam's suggestion for him, Daniel. Or Jesse or Harrison or Gage. Just not Harry!

 
At 11:40 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

You all are mentioning some great names but some I've already used. in the first two books. :-( Or in other books. I've had a Nick, Ben, Edward, William.

 
At 11:46 AM, Blogger valariemccoy said...

I go with Denise and say "Gage" . I am not sure why I mentioned it. I don't know anyone with that name, I guess just reading about him made me think of it. It's gonna be a great book, no matter what you chose!!!

 
At 1:17 PM, OpenID Bethany Joy said...

To me, Sam is kind of plain. I'd like Samuel better, I think. But my favorites would be...

Edward
Andrew
Caleb
William
Thomas
David
Nathan

:)

 
At 2:24 PM, Blogger FugettFamily said...

I'm in agreement with most, not a fan of Sam or Hary. Daniel would be good. Joseph was also a popular one that may work well.
For a little fun, I searched people that were married to Olivia's during that time period knowing how you love romances...
Olivia to Richard, Jr. Wally 2 Sep 1879 (MS)
Olivia to Alexis Adams 8 Aug 1852 (MA)
Olivia to Joseph Medford 11 Jan 1881 (NC)
And the famous Samuel Clemens married Olivia in 1870 made me wonder if that's where you came up with Sam ; )
Anyway... there' a few, maybe that could help narrow your search, try looking up marriage records?

 
At 7:04 PM, Blogger Cindy W. said...

My nephew's name is Samuel and he goes by Sammy (and he's 33 years old). Sam to me is sounds more modern whereas Samuel takes you back in time.

The first name that popped into my head is William. Then I went to the website you listed (thank you by the way...awesome sight) and William was the #2 name.

Blessings,
Cindy W.

 
At 7:08 PM, Blogger Cindy W. said...

How about Matthew? Matthew and Olivia has a nice ring to it.

 
At 7:33 PM, Blogger Ms. C. said...

I like Henry and Owen. They both make me think of someone who is a dreamer, inventor, and both pair well with Olivia.

 
At 7:34 PM, Blogger Ms. C. said...

I like Henry or Owen. Both names strike me as a man who is a dreamer, an inventor, and definitely a risk taker! Also, I think they both pair well with Olivia.

 
At 10:45 PM, Blogger Crystal Laine Miller said...

Well, Charles Lindbergh was a famous pilot...

When I think of Harry, I think of Harry Potter! (LOL)

How about WARREN? Good, tough name. (my maiden name)

So my suggestions:
1. Warren
2. Charles
3. Mack
4. Guy
5. Joseph
6. Hugh (Hugh Jackman!)

I love the Poppy and Punky picture (and it's so alliterate, too. LOL.)

 
At 1:32 AM, Blogger Ruthie said...

Please! NOT Harry! It's my DH's name and I really love him but not his name! Besides, modern TV commercials that have a dunce for the husband/leading man usually use the name Harry. So it gives the connotation of someone who is really stupid.

If you don't like Edward since you've used him before, how about EDWIN? Still, that may be too close. Ok. I'll settle for Henry, but I like Andrew or Gage better.

 
At 8:41 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

I'm thinking about Harrison. What do you think?

Edward is a character in this series, not just one I've used before. So is John, Andrew, Philip, William, Henry and Charles. Probably some others I'm forgetting right this minute. This is the 3rd book set in the early 1900s and I have a lot of characters in the first 2 books that reappear in this book.

 
At 9:16 AM, Blogger valariemccoy said...

Harrison is O.K. Just makes me think of Harrison Ford. Makes me think of someone older (probably becouse I can't get Mr. Ford out of my head now)LOL. I still think Gage is my favorite.

 
At 9:19 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

I like Gage too but it wasn't used back then. You have to be true to the time period. :-(

 
At 11:05 AM, Blogger Pam S. said...

Ok...if you're not going to use Daniel, then I like Harrison. :)LOL. Harrison has a nice feel to it.

 
At 3:22 PM, Blogger Suzanne said...

Sam reminds me of my Italian immigrant grandfather who although I only knew as kind, loud and funny was rather a tyrant in his younger days and someone who couldn't (wouldn't) keep a job.

How about Eli? Or Jonah? The Bible is great to pull names from because most of them never go out of style. Except for Mephibosheth. And a few others :)

 
At 6:08 PM, Blogger jel said...

what's wrong with the name "Tristan"?


just watch a movie name
(Tristan & Isolde) they were before "Romoeo & Juliet" :)

 
At 6:11 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Tristan just sounds a little feminine or something. It's probably just me. :-)

 
At 9:44 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

See how hard this is, friends!? Everyone likes different names and has a different view of what is manly and what is not so manly. Sigh.

Thanks for much for all of your suggestions! Please don't be upset if I don't pick your name. I have to run it past all the characteristics I know about my hero and see if it fits. But you all ROCK for your help!!!

 
At 1:18 AM, Blogger Anna said...

I see nothing wrong with Harrison. I like it!

 
At 11:15 AM, Blogger Jaime said...

May I just say one more thing: You could name him Tom, Dick, OR Harry and I'd still buy the books :) :)

(how's that for smoozing?) :)

 
At 11:19 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

aw thanks, Jaime! :-)

Figured out why Tristan sounded feminine to me. Kristin has a sister in law named Tristan. LOL

 
At 4:03 PM, Blogger Kameko said...

When I hear "Sam" it makes me think of "Samson" from the bible, or the movie (don't think it was a huge hit) from the 80's called "Sam's Son", written & directed by Michael Landon. Sam can be a "regular" name, but I think it's how his character is defined that will make him either a hero or a prop. As Hannah said above, whatever you decide to name him, it won't stop me from reading the book.

 
At 8:01 AM, Blogger Sheila Faire said...

When I hear the name Sam I think of Samual Adams, John Adams, and all the founders of our country. I love the John Adams book by David McCullough. The names at the time of John Adams are so similar to the 1800's popular names. Must have been a cycle. Now there are some strong and fiesty characters for you. Watch the DVD's and see if Samual speaks to you differently.

 
At 9:33 AM, Blogger Bethanie said...

lots of people like henry, or a version of that. what about hank?

 
At 9:41 AM, Blogger HuneyBee said...

I actually like the name Sam. It isn't one you see used very often in books! I'm really starting to like the name actually. I can picture him :) other than that I LOVE the name Jesse :)

 
At 9:44 AM, Blogger Michelle V said...

I had so much fun reading through all the back and forth in the comments! I agree that Sam doesn't fit. I do like Harrison.

And I love the picture!

Blessings
Michelle V

 
At 11:14 AM, Blogger PriviesAndPrims said...

I was gonna say Samuel, but I see someone already suggested that.

I make primitive dolls and name almost every one, so I know what you're going through. Usually, I look at them for awhile and the name just pops into my head! Thanks God, I can always use Your help!

 

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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

www.KristinBillerbeck.com

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

www.ColleenCoble.com

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

www.DeniseHunterBooks.com

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

www.DiannHunt.com

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

www.HannahAlexander.com

 
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