Character Names

As people are starting to read The Trust, I’ve been getting a number of questions about how I come up with character names.  I’ve also had a few interesting thing pointed out to me about some of the names I’ve used.  There have been several people who know someone who shares a name with a character.  Given that I’ve never heard of the real life folks that share names with my fictional folks I’m pretty sure we can go with coincidence.  
A few of my more astute friends, or perhaps some that just know me too well, have looked past the name of a specific character and have told me, with 100% accuracy I might add, who a character was based upon despite the fact the name was nothing like the name of the actual person.  Others have asked me if I have a name in mind when a character comes to life.
Well, the short answer is no.
When I create characters, I see them, and, as I have addressed in other blog entries, bring them to life.  However the name is a different thing entirely.  Generally I just stop writing, stare into the distance and start kicking around names.  In The Trust the main characters were all named a single time and their names stuck having been pulled from out of the blue.  Really the only book names directly linked to an actual names are the names of the book canines.  One has the name of a friend’s dog and the other shares the name of a cat I had as a child.  This is more an inside joke as the canine in my life really doesn’t like cats, but I doubt he’ll get the joke.  
There were a couple of names I changed because they were just too similar to real people.  One interesting name belongs to one of the main characters.  It is a name shared by my nephew who was born after the book was written. I like to think my creating a character was the basis of my nephew ending up with his name, but that would be stretching things I am sure.  This also reinforces the coincidence point.  
The biggest naming coincidence involves the name Leonardo Xavier Cross.  This name was 100% pure concoction and until yesterday I didn’t think another moment about it, rather I knew it was 100% unique.  That is until a friend pointed out that the main character in “Scrooged,” which I readily admit is a movie I love, is named Francis Xavier Cross.  Believe it or not coincidence and a coincidence I didn’t notice during any of the what must have been 10 times that I watched “Scrooged” this past Christmas or since I have written the book!  
Who knows?  Perhaps Francis Xavier Cross is the long lost son of Leonardo Xavier Cross.  Stranger things have happened. 

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