One of the most exciting things about starting a new book is picking the names. It is very important to have a name that suits the character but authors are also influenced by fashion – current trends as well as something that represents the period. For example with first names, Albert conjures up for me the Victorian era, while Kylie and Wayne are very much more modern! (My Regency heroes tend to be called Richard, Luke or Adam, etc).
Surnames can be a problem, too and I tend to make good use of a map for these. Years ago I was travelling on the motorway and saw a road-sign to three towns. It read "Milton, Chilton and Didcot" . I knew that one day I would use this and they ended up as a firm of solicitors in Moonshadows, (my e-book published by Samhain).
Sometimes the characters seem to appear ready-named. In The Highclough Lady the heroine was always called Verity Shore and in Lucasta, well, I created the character around the name in this instance.
In More Than a Governess, my first novel writing as Sarah Mallory, the hero is called Major Damon Collingham – because his reputation is "A devil on the battlefield and in the bedroom", I decided a name beginning with D would be appropriate. In the end I chose Damon, which I think is a good, strong name, suitable for a good, strong hero!
There is another little point about More Than a Governess which I think makes it very suitable for the "On Mothering Sunday" publication which is out in the UK now: for Juliana's brother and sister I used two first names that are very dear to me but which I doubt I would ever use as hero and heroine, those of my parents!
Melinda Hammond / Sarah Mallory
"On Mothering Sunday" featuring two novels by Sarah Mallory and Kathryn Albright is published March 2009and is available in supermarkets & bookshops throughout the UK.