Wednesday, April 29, 2009

stuck – help!

Current work: outlines and plotting
Listening to: Sheryl Crow
Reading: next on TBR pile

As an author who writes medicals, you’d think that I would know better. Yesterday I ignored the watery eyes, thinking it was just part of the cold. By yesterday evening, my left eye felt gritty. And then son stared at me. ‘Mum, your eye’s bright red!’ Uh-oh. Conjunctivitis alert. (On top of the cold.) Off to the pharmacy to get some eye drops, and hopefully things will improve by tomorrow evening.

In the meantime, I’m stuck. It’s all to do with the hero’s name. (Heroine is Daisy and that’s fine.) He’s tall, dark, handsome and posh. (Think Guy of Gisbourne but scrubbed up, with a posh accent and wearing a suit.) I had planned to call him Justin, as it’s a hero name I haven’t used yet. However, it seems that my hero doesn’t like it as he’s rebelled and gone off to sulk.

Problem is, I’m on book 40 and I’ve used up all my favourite names. (My Modern Heat mates were sympathetic… until I explained why I’m out of names. Cue much teasing, particularly over my original choice of name; I don't watch that much TV so I had no idea the current 'hot' Justin was gay! And I’m still stuck.)

I asked DH if I could use his name. ‘Absolutely not. Is it just a rotten cold and conjunctivitis you’ve got or have you gone mad as well?’ (Ha. Makes me think of the time I misheard the lyrics to Keane’s ‘Somewhere only we know’: oh sympathy, where have you gone?) (Yes, really. There is a proper name for mishearing lyrics but I can’t remember what it is right now.) (And he’s right. I can’t use his name. It would feel all shades of wrong.)

I’ve used Oliver and Sebastian before (in a Med), so I can’t really use those names in a Modern Heat… or can I? The hero would work as an Oliver or a Sebastian – note, however, he wouldn’t be a Seb like Seb Radley in Her Honourable Playboy. And actually, because of daughter’s obsession with musicals, Oliver might not work either.

So I have a question for you: do you mind if an author recycles a first name (or a surname, but obviously not together) in later books? How big a gap do you need between thee books to allow you to be able to suspend disbelief and enjoy the romance?

And any suggestions of names would be welcome…


ninaharrington said...

Hugs on the horrible cold and nasty eye. Get better soon.
As for names?
I use my book of baby names to fire off inspiration - and try to link to the nationality and character of the man himself. Aristocratic Jasper vs Marcello and Hugo etc. Best of luck!
As for recycling names? No problem for me. Each book to its own etc.

Carol Townend said...

Hope your eye gets better soon! About names,I would hesitate if it was for the same line, but otherwise not. (I could send you a link of a list of Anglo-Saxon names - only joking!)

Judy Jarvie said...

Since some posh names also tend to be Scottish...have you considered an Angus? jxx

Kate Hardy said...

Nina - thanks. I'm typing one-eyed...

Baby names book came up blank. (It would help if I even had the first letter... *g*)

And thanks re the recycling.

Kate Hardy said...

Carol - thanks.

They'd be for different lines.

And as for AS names: I could nick your Benedict and get away with it, but Saewulf... nope. (Loved yours, though!) I probably couldn't even get away with Wulf. Or Byrhtnoth (the TH there should be an eth, but I can't remember the code to type it in!) Or Eadric...

Oh, wait. Supposing his mum was an Anglo-Saxon scholar... Hmm. Would my ed notice??

Nicolette said...

Hope your eye is better soon. Ditto the cold.

My favourite names:


Kate Hardy said...

Judy - thanks! Angus... possibly not because of Angus and Thongs; plus a friend's son is Angus.

But that's made me think of Fergus. (Liz Fielding wrote a delectable - and posh - Fergus.)

Kate Hardy said...

Nicolette - thanks!

Hero of my May release is Luke, so Lucas is a bit near. But Jared's a good thought.

Kate Hardy said...

Nina... been thinking about those names again. Margaret McDonagh and I added a litter of pups to the new Penhally series, and I have a nasty feeling we called one of them Jasper.

But that makes me think of Caspar (the original form of Jasper). I like that.

Hugo, I do like. Works better than Hugh.

Or maybe I should give him a REALLY posh first name that he loathes. Augustus or something Victorian. (This would work because of the heroine's job.)

Lisa said...

Hope you feel better, how about Barry or Brian

Liz Fielding said...

Ouch, sympathies on the eye!

I've used Jack a couple of times, although possible not both times for M&B. And Harry. And Josh. It does get harder but the good news is that as you get older your tastes in names changes slightly. I've used names in later books that I wouldn't have considered when I started.

I did, accidentally, use the same surname twice and no one complained, but I wouldn't do that on purpose unless the characters were related.

I like Judy's idea. When I get stuck I wander off to the Celtic fringes for inspiration. Or the Old Testament.

Good luck!

Kate Hardy said...

Lisa - nice to see you here. Thank you for the sympathies and the suggestions.

Brian always makes me think of the snail in the Magic Roundabout (OK, so I'm showing my age *g*), and I have a cousin Barry.

But maybe Bartholomew... (Thanks for the springboard!)

Kate Hardy said...

Liz - thanks, both for the sympathy and the reassurance.

Looking back at my first ones, I think would still use a Sam or a Ben or an Alex... oh, whoops, I *did* use Alex twice. (They're NOTHING like each other. One's a very sweet, gentle doctor and the other is my sexy archaeologist.)

My hero is sort of talking to me again. Batting his eyelashes and telling me that he's Persian. He is NOT. He's a banker.

I think that might be the other reason why he's rebelling: I'm giving him a sensible occupation. But he needs to be sensible and a bit staid because the heroine is unusual. She's going to be his way of rebelling against his family.

Um. I don't write staid men, do I? Dear hero. Please behave. I'm going to work on something else until you talk to me. You're going to have to come up with something good to get me out of my research hole. Even if I do only have one eye working properly today.

Diane said...

I don't mind if an author uses the same names - I mean, there are only so many of them. But you say you don't even have your first letter, and you do - it's a J. And if hubby is being a bit ... strange(?), and if you really think you can't use his name, how about variations? Jeremy instead of Gerard, or Jez or Jed. I also like Jonathan, Jon, Jonty, but you may have already used those before. Jasper is a name I give my dogs ... Justin and Julian just don't do it for me anyway, although Jules is ok and a name in its own right. Or there's Joaquin (although I can't even pronounce that one right, apparently - I pronounce it Joe-Kwin), or Joseph or Joe, or Jude. I like Jack too, as that can be Jack, John, Jackson, Jackie or Jonathan.

Gosh, I could go on forever, so I'd best stop now. Hope it helps or at least raises a smile, and hope the eyes don't get too bad.

linda margaret said...


A somewhat conventional banker eh. I like Julian, or if it isn't "J" something like St John, Dominick, or Douglas. I think names can be recycled especially first ones and if it across different lines even more so.

Hope your eye feels better soon.


Donna Alward said...

Staid hero - atypical heroine - you need a name that is very solid and that the heroine will make a very silly nickname out of that will drive him mad.

I do like St John. Unfortunately you said Victorian and my head is now full of Soames and Jolyon and nothing else! Not sure why - maybe because I watched LIFE on the dvr last night.

liz fenwick said...

I think it depends on how posh you want him to be...many have the solid ordinary names - James, Benjamin....but then you have the Crispins, Christians, Tristans still very traditional but not far out. Now if you give your hero a Persian mother then you could introduce some of the lovely names from there - fav of the mo is laith meaning lion...

Suggest you pick up the latest copy of Tatler and go through the social pages....

HOpe the eye and the cold clears quickly.

Kimberly Lang said...

Misheard lyrics are "Mondegreens"

I'm terrible with names -- especially for secondary characters. I'm already noticing this lack of creativity and I'm only on book four. (I'm doomed.)

Anonymous said...

Milo, Harvey, Maxim, Archie, Jude, Huw, Niles..?? (Sorry 'bout the cold). Gillie x

Julie Cohen said...

I had a very difficult time naming my son because I'd already used lots of my favourite names for heroes in my books. Dang.

Anne McAllister said...

Could you perhaps list all forty of your heroes, Kate, so we'll know what not to repeat?

I am on my 63rd book right now and it's fortunate that I've gone for Greeks recently as it's opened up a whole cupboard of names that weren't possible among the cowboys.

Banker names? Miles? Dominic? Anthony? Edward? Daniel?

I had to laugh, though, at your 'Jared' idea, because that was the name of my hero who gave me so much trouble until I got his name right. D'you suppose it comes with the name?

Kate Hardy said...

Diane - it's pronounced Wahkeen :o)

DH likes being thought of as my research assistant (!!) and getting dedications, but absolutely not having his name used as a character...

Actually, I do like Julian. (Not Famous Five... more Mr Lloyd Webber. I love his cello playing.)

Thanks for the ideas!

Kate Hardy said...

Linda - thanks. Hadn't thought of St John. There was a St John at school who was posh, gorgeous and lots of girls had a crush on him. As for Mr Rivers... Hmm.

Kate Hardy said...

Donna - LOL. Setting is Victorian... of sorts.

Love the idea of the nickname. (My heroine is making suggestions already.)

Kate Hardy said...

Liz = ooh, I could do a Tristan. (And I love the Persian name, too.)

Great idea re Tatler.

And the eye - after 2-hourly doses of chloramphenicol - doesn't itch quite so much...

Kate Hardy said...

Kim - thanks for reminding me. I kept thinking "wintergreen" so I was sort of in the right direction...

You can't be stuck on four! Look at all the names my lovely commenters have come up with between them... :)

Kate Hardy said...

Gillie - I do like Milo, but unfortunately he still has Tweenie connotations for me...

Kate Hardy said...

Anne - so why can't you have Greek cowboys, then? :o)

List the books. OK. You ready for this? (And it's 39, btw - this is #40) Newest first, Meds and then MH:

1. Medical (title and date TBA) – Max and Marina
2. Falling for the Playboy Millionaire (Oct 09) – James and Charlotte
3. The Children's Doctor's Special Proposal – Rhys and Katrina
4. The Greek Doctor's New Year Baby – Theo and Maddie
5. The Spanish Consultant's Love-Child – Leandro and Becky
6. The Doctor's Royal Love-Child – Dragan and Melinda
7. The Doctor's Very Special Christmas – Rob and Emma
8. The Italian GP's Bride, Aug 07 – Orlando and Eleanor
9. The Consultant's New-Found Family – Joel and Lisa
10. Their Christmas Dream Come True – Kit and Natalie
11. The Firefighter's Fiance – Matt and Kelsey
12. His Honourable Surgeon – Jake and Vicky
13. Her Honourable Playboy – Seb and Alyssa
14. Her Celebrity Surgeon (Jan 06) – Charlie and Sophie
15. The Consultant's Christmas Proposal – Toby and Saskia
16. Where the Heart Is – Luke and Rowena
17. Their Very Special Marriage – Oliver and Rachel
18. The Doctor's Pregnancy Surprise – Holly and David
19. The Baby Doctor's Desire – Kieran and Judith
20. The Doctor's Tender Secret – Zoe and Brad
21. The Registrar's Convenient Wife – Eliot and Claire
22. The Spanish Consultant's Baby – Ramon and Jennifer
23. The Heart Consultant's Lover – Jack and Miranda
24. The Doctor's Rescue – Will and Mallory
25. The Italian Doctor's Proposal – Nic and Lucy
26. Her Special Child – Alex and Tina
27. His Emergency Fiancee – Ben and Kirsty
28. A Baby of Her Own – Sam and Jodie

Modern Heats
29. Temporary Boss, Permanent Mistress (Oct 2009) – Jake (Jakob) and Lydia
30. Playboy Boss, Pregnancy of Passion (May 09) – Luke and Sara
31. Surrender to the Playboy Sheikh – Karim and Lily
32. Hotly Bedded, Conveniently Wedded – Alex and Bel
33. Sold to the Highest Bidder – Jack and Alicia
34. One Night, One Baby – Mitch and Jane
35. Breakfast at Giovanni's (In Bed with Her Italian Boss) – Gio and Fran
36. In the Gardener's Bed (The Pregnancy Ultimatum) – Will and Amanda
37. Seeing Stars – Adam and Kerry
38. Strictly Legal (Mistress On Trial) – Leo and Rose
39. The Cinderella Project – Max and Cyn

Phew! (And yes, I have reused Jake and Will. Uhh. Bad.)

Caroline said...

Hope you get better soon. There does seem to be a lot of colds/flu/bugs out there at the moment!

Names - I don't mind "recycling" names - as long as they don't appear in the next book - but I'm sure your editors would spot that anyway!

Posh name umm let me think? - Quintin, Trystan, Amos, Marcus, Rupert (!!) - Dickin (!!!), Rodererick (!!!!) - yikes the more I type them the more pompus they sound. Recycle an old one - the government are always going on about recycling anyway! Take care - Caroline

Nell Dixon said...

I didn't notice a Henry/Harry and you could use Christopher and have the heroine call him Kip or Kipper just to annoy him or maybe go the Mr Darcy route and call him Fitzwilliam?

Jan Jones said...

Well, honestly, Kate. What's wrong with Guy? Or Gisborne, come to that.

Janet said...


Donna Alward said...



ninaharrington said...

Following on from what Nell said - I always liked 'Hal' instead of Henry.
And who doesn't love a Tristan or Crispin? LOL
PS> the provisional name of the hero in my current WIP is Erasmus [ nickname Ras]. Feel free to borrow!

Janet said...


Judy Jarvie said...

Oh Kate. Just had to add a Joss (he was a Jonathan apparently). At uni-everybody fancied him. Sigh. Memories of youth. Hope you nail it soon. Loved the list wowzer!

Kate Hardy said...

Caroline – thank you, and you did make me laugh about recycling!

Kate Hardy said...

Nell – Hal, I like; Christopher, sadly I can’t use because of son. (I did sort of have a Christopher, but he was Kit rather than Chris, so it worked.) And I love the idea of the irritating nickname.

Smiled at your nicknames for Chris. Son used to call himself Kiffer when he was a toddler. (He cringes now if I mention it, but I still melt - it was so cute!)

Kate Hardy said...

Jan – nothing’s wrong with Guy :o)

You know, I might well use that surname because it goes quite well with the name that’s flickering in the back of my head.

Kate Hardy said...

Janet (twice) – wow, what a list! Thank you.

Kate Hardy said...

Donna – Declan’s a good thought. (And thanks for the music you sent because that’s even more inspiring. That nets you a credit on the "about the book page" *g*)

Kate Hardy said...

Judy – Joss as a Jonathan for some reason makes me think of Mr Ross.

I had a crush on him in the 80s – ha, didn’t we all in his early career? And even now, the twinkle in his eyes works for me, despite the fact I think he needs to tone down just a little bit.

As you say, memories of youth – ahhh. I also had a crush on Bruce Willis in Moonlighting. Hey, I ended up marrying his double! (But Bruce doesn't work for me as a hero name. Not yet, anyway.)

Talking of Bruce... it's another of my mondegreens (thanks, Kim). I really thought Jeff Lynne was singing that in 'Don't bring me down'. Please tell me I'm not the only one?

Kate Hardy said...

Nina - Ras is a cool name!

(I do like Tristan. Makes me think of Peter Davison...)

Anonymous said...

How about Rufus..