Author Sutton Fox, author of CENTER RING (on sale right now for Lyrical Press’s Christmas Bash), joins me today with her unique take on naming characters.
BREATHE: Do you feel your character names are influenced by the theme of your story? Why or why not?
SUTTON: No. At least not consciously. For example, Center Ring is the second book in a series. All the main players were named long before I wrote the first book. In my head the name must fit the character, and ring true for me. I don’t consider the theme when it comes to names.
BREATHE: If you wrote in another genre, would it affect the names you picked for your characters? Why do you think this is?
SUTTON: It might. If I wrote historical, I’d use names from that time period. Or if I wrote paranormal I believe I’d be free to be a little more creative with character names because there’s more room for pushing boundaries. Since I write contemporary and romantic suspense I tend to use names consistent with modern day people. I think it makes it easier to suspend disbelief.
BREATHE: What is your favorite character name—either your own or somebody else’s? Why do you like this name?
SUTTON: Tohrment. He’s one of the brothers in J.R. Wards, BDB. This is just one example, but I really like all of them because torment by itself is a powerful word, used as a name, it just reaches out and grabs you. At least it did me. I simply had to know who this character was.
BREATHE: Do you feel a character’s name affects the way you write him or her?
SUTTON: Yes. Character names can represent many things to the reader, strength, weakness, or many things in between. It’s important that the character’s name is a good fit.
BREATHE: Are there any names you absolutely will not use for a character?
SUTTON: Rumpelstiltskin. It’s a classic. Anything else is fair game.
EXCERPT from CENTER RING:
A late afternoon sun shed weakened rays through the patchy clouds, sprinkling tattered bits of sunlight over the ground. It was colder today. Julia pulled her coat closed against the nipping breeze and hurried into the building. She desperately wanted to ignore the incredible hulk following her around, but the manners Lacey had made sure she knew and understood wouldn’t let her. As a silent tribute to the only woman she’d ever willingly called Mom, Julia slowed her step and turned with a smile.
“Mr. Jameson, I’ve a staff meeting and conference calls for what little is left of the afternoon. Since I’ll be in my own office in the Cameron building, I’m sure I don’t require your services. If you’ve things you need to do, or reports to file, I’ll have Kelly find you a vacant office.” Using her best dismissive tone, she turned to walk inside.
She felt his heat when he pulled her close. His voice, almost a whisper, sounded low and seductive. It teased its way slowly across nerve endings long ignored, ignited embers she’d banked long ago. She rose to her full height and, with the help of Jimmy Choo, looked him straight in the eye.
“Mr. Jameson, as far as I’m concerned the only ‘good side’ you have is your ass heading out of my life.”