BlogCarnOct14-01+(1)Well, it’s that time of month again… When I gather on a Wednesday with some of my writing friends & we all answer the same question. This month we are answering the question, “What is your favorite character name?”

I’ll start with some background. As Historical Romance Authors think about creating names and titles, there are three major pitfalls to be avoided. The first? Coming up with a title that sounds real but is not actually extant. To do this, I consult maps of England and look for names of small towns that sound appealing, pair them with a rank and then google it to make sure it’s not actually a real title (wouldn’t want to offend a Earl!). Next, there is the problem of whether or not a first name existed in the time period. For example, my own name, Wendy, is said to have been created by EM Barrie for Peter Pan, and doesn’t appear on birth records during the period I write (although I do have a 18th century Dutch ancestor whose name was Wyntie, but I digress). Finally, when using a carefully-chosen, period-appropriate name, a historical romance writer has to stay aware the use of given names was VERY restricted, and so, at the start of every book, the hero and heroine are unlikely to be on a first-name basis. Take, as an example, Jane Austen. In Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth’s parents refer to one another as “Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Bennett” and in Emma, at the triumphant, love-confession moment, Emma declares “I need not call you Mr. Knightly, I can call you my Mr. Knightly.”

I tried to keep all of this in mind while writing my Furies series. I want our life. She exhaled and a dizzy sensation swayed in her limbs. Our. Wyn had said our. Duchess Decadence by Wendy LaCapraIn the first, Lady Vice, the hero and heroine loved one another in their youth, and when the hero uses the heroine’s given name when speaking to a friend, he practically announces he intends to resume intimacies. In the second, Lady Scandal, the hero and heroine hide out on a Quaker farm, and the owner’s insistence that only first names be used (a Quaker custom) is part of what breaks down the hero’s shell. In the final book, Duchess Decadence, to be released next Monday, names come into play in several ways. The heroine’s close female friends refer to her as Thea. The hero only thinks of her as Thea Marie…until the walls of formality are broken. His first name reveals her growth, too. Throughout the book, the duchess struggles to recall the duke’s first name and is, at the same time annoyed when he uses the oath St. Swithin. When she finally remembers that Swithin is his name–a small joke on the part of his parents, since St. Swithin is the patron saint of Winchester (spelled differently)– she absolutely forbids him from disparaging himself ever again. None of this was planned, by the way. I didn’t even know Swithin was the patron saint of Winchester until I was 1/2 way through the book!

But I haven’t answered the question, have I? My favorite character name is Swithin Worthington, the Duke of Wynchester’s nickname, Wyn.

The hero of Duchess Decadence‘s title is the Duke of Wynchester, and his estranged Duchess is the only one who has ever dared call him Wyn—which had always gotten under his skin (her intent). You see, they married young as the result of an arranged marriage, and she could find no other way to pierce his cold exterior. But time and tragedy have changed them both, and, as they rediscover one another, hearing her say his nickname becomes less irritation and more endearment.

If you want to read more about Duchess Decadence, you can do so here. And if you want to hear about character names from my fellow authors, you can find their posts here:

Contemporary Romance Writer  Lauren Christopher | Paranormal romance writer Kay Hudson | Romantic suspense writer Sharon Wray |  Historical romance writer Wendy LaCapra | Novels with romantic elements Natalie Meg Evans


Writer Wednesday Date List

8 Responses to Writer Wed.: Favorite Character Name

  • Loved your post, Wendy. And I can’t wait to read Duchess Decadence. I LOVE reunion stories in all time periods! And I can’t wait to meet Wyn. 🙂

  • Wow, I never realized so much work must go into choosing names when you write historical novels! And how cool to be named after Wendy from Peter Pan. (It kinda fits your personality ;0)

    • LOL! I did always like the Wendy character in Peter Pan. My parents were looking for a W name that was close to my uncle’s name (Wayne). Someone mentioned the actress Wendy Hiller, probably best remembered for her role as a Russian princess in Murder on the Orient Express, and so it was decided.

  • Great post, Wendy! I have to admit I sometimes get confused in historical novels where all the men have three or four names (and in Regency novels, possibly a silly nickname), but I admire the ability to put them all together and make them sound real. Imagine if all those fictional dukes and earls and marquises and viscounts ever got together–you’d have half the population of England!

    • LOL, Kay. True. Romancelandia has a boatload of Dukes…and is protected by shiploads of firefighters and cowboys and bounty hunters and noble FBI agents and the occasional shape-shifting king-of-the-underworld. We love them all!

  • Wow, interesting how you choose the names for historicals! I’m full of admiration for all that work that has to go up front. And I love how your books had the twists of name use simply woven in (and don’t you love it when wonderful twists happen without your planning, like the oath of St. Swithin? Fabulous!).

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