Guest Post: What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

by Patricia Bradley

I’m sitting here staring at a blinking cursor. Or I was before I abandoned the blank page for Janet’s blog. Of course, that meant I was staring at another blank page and blinking cursor, but at least I have an idea of how to start. I’m going to talk about starting a new book and a new series.

Gone Without a Trace, by Patricia BradleyI’ve finished the fourth book in the Logan Point series, and the third one just came out—Gone Without a Trace, which I’m giving away this week here.

My next series is about cold cases set in Memphis. I’ve tentatively titled the first book The Case of the Murdered Roommate. I have no idea if my publisher Revell will keep it, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog. I have my characters named except for the main antagonist, whose identity will be kept secret until the fourth book. And his name eludes me. I actually thought of a great name, but it turned out that name belonged to a main character in a popular TV show.

Without his name, I can’t move forward. I don’t know why I can’t, but that’s the reason for the blank page and blinking cursor. And I can’t ask you, my readers, to help me because then you’d know who he is. *Sigh*

Why are names so important to a writer?

Well, like naming your children, I’ll have to live with my characters throughout the 95,000 words it will take to tell the story. And some of them will carry through the whole series. I’ve discovered if I don’t have the right name for a character, he won’t talk to me. Or she won’t. And it’s really important for my characters to do that. Otherwise, I don’t know what their greatest desire or fears are. They will be flat. One dimensional. This is especially important for my villain. Well, my hero and heroine, too, but they already have names and are talking to me.

Thanks for listening to me. Just getting away from the story has helped. In fact, a name came to me as I wrote this. A great name. Now to find a fitting last name.

[Patricia is giving away a copy of her newest release, Gone Without a Trace. Contest limited to Continental USA for print copy. E-copy—anywhere! To leave a comment on this post, scroll down.]

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Patricia BradleyPatricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi and is a former abstinence educator and co-author of RISE To Your Dreams, an abstinence curriculum. But her heart is tuned to suspense. Patricia’s romantic suspense books include the Logan Point series—Shadows of the Past, A Promise to Protect, and Gone Without a Trace. Her workshops on writing include an online course with American Christian Fiction Writers and workshops at the Mid-South Christian Writer’s Conference in Collierville, TN. When she’s not writing, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens.

Connect with Patricia:



Or find her books:

Shadows of the Past: CBD; Amazon; B&N; Books A Million

A Promise to Protect: B&N; CBD; Amazon; Books A Million

Gone Without a Trace: Amazon; CBD; B&N; Books A Million

36 thoughts on “Guest Post: What’s in a Name?

  1. Janet Sketchley Post author

    Patricia, thanks for visiting today, and thanks for offering a copy of Gone Without a Trace to one of the folks who join us. I’ve been enjoying the Logan Point series and am glad there’ll be one more! Your next series looks intriguing too!

      1. Janet Sketchley Post author

        Thanks! It’s always fun to learn about writers’ journeys. It’s like a little peek behind the scenes. Everyone’s different, and there are so many different ways to create a story.

  2. Mary Preston

    Naming my son was easy – after family members, but my daughter was hard to name. I was not going to inflict horrible family names upon her.

  3. raiseyourgaze

    I thoroughly enjoyed Patricia Bradley’s guest post, “What’s in a Name.” She made it a fun read as well as informative and thought-provoking, and indicated the kind of thoughtful working and depth that goes into her characters. These aspects all suggested to me something of her engaging writing style. ~~+~~

  4. kathleenefriesen

    Naming my kids was easy compared to naming characters. 🙂 I already have your book Patricia, and loved it. (I did post five-star reviews.) Love your Logan Point series, and if you need someone to review your next series, pick me, please! 🙂

  5. Trixi O.

    I didn’t have any problems naming my two children! When I was a teen, I decided that when I had a girl, her name would be Elizabeth. And when my son came along, God told us what to name him (Michael) through a prophecy when we first found out I was pregnant. True story!

    Naming our pets however, was always more difficult! We like biblical names, but sometimes it didn’t fit their personality. It took us a bit of time to come up with the “right” fit for them 🙂 Kind of like your characters, where they don’t talk to you, lol! Or it just didn’t seem right or fit them. I totally get that!
    Thanks for the chance to win a copy of “Gone Without a Trace”

    1. Janet Sketchley Post author

      What a treasure for God to give you your son’s name, Trixi! As for pets, I used to have goldfish with names like Jeremiah and Ezekiel…

      Thanks for visiting!

  6. Dana Michael

    I did have a bit of a hard time with my second son. We decided on the way to the hospital. Aaron James. Also, being from Memphis, I am stoked about your upcoming series!!

    1. Janet Sketchley Post author

      I’ve heard of people changing their minds about a chosen name when they saw their newborn. I like your choice, Dana! And I’ve only been to Memphis vicariously through books, but I’m looking forward to more of that with Patricia’s next series. Thanks for commenting.

      1. Dana Michael

        Mrs. Bradley! Oh my goodness! I would love to come and meet you. I am a reader, not a writer, could I still come and get a book signed?

        1. P. T. Bradley

          I forgot that I’ll be at a Library signing in Memphis next April. If anyone is interested in meeting a whole bunch of Memphis-area writers, email me and at pat at ptbradley dot com

  7. Christina Spicuzza

    I definitely had a rough time naming my first born!! I thought for most of the pregnancy that I was having a girl… So k picked out a girls name and found out that he was going to be a boy… I couldn’t come up with anything original, so he is a Jr lol
    Thank you for the chance to win!!!

    1. Janet Sketchley Post author

      I’m sure your son would rather be a Jr. than have a girl’s name 🙂 I was sure one of ours was a girl, too, but we picked out names for both — good thing, because I don’t make decisions well under pressure.

      Thanks for commenting, Christina.

  8. Michelle "Shelley" St. John

    It was very easy to name my firstborn son. He was a gift from God (after 5 miscarriages) so Zachary was a perfect choice. His middle name, Nevin, is a family name, the middle name (though the one he used day-to-day) of my maternal Grandpa-the only mN I had ever met who gave unconditional love & support-both traits I prayed for my son.
    What was difficult was the name for my daughter who I felt kick for the first time right before I miscarried her. I loved the name Jamie for a girl & went with that, then decided on my Mothrr’s maiden name for her middle name. The names & date are engraved on a beautiful urn that was filled with yellow baby roses & babies breath flowers. I look forward to meeting each of my children when entering heaven, hoping that Jesus will have bestowed on them their perfect name before I get there. I praise Him that those children are not lost, but with Him, safe & sound; surrounded by His unfailing love; excited for when I get to meet each!

    1. Janet Sketchley Post author

      Shelley, I think there will be a lot of joyful reunions of parents with the children who went on before them. And somehow you’ll recognize them. So glad God has sustained you through the pain of these miscarriages and given you the gift of your son. Thanks for joining our conversation.

  9. Cindy Jameson

    The family pets were easy to name. It just took one look at them, and they were named! My daughter on the other hand, well let us just say it was lucky she was a girl because we couldn’t decide on a boy’s name after 7 months of arguing. He kept wanting Seth, or Heath. I said the child would never come when his name is called because you cannot shout the TH sound.

    1. Janet Sketchley Post author

      I’d never thought of that, Cindy, but no, you can’t shout a TH. And it’s at the end of the name, so the volume would definitely drop 🙂 Thanks for commenting.

  10. Glynis

    Fascinating post and comments. Thanks Patricia & Janet. I have always loved the name Gillian. My hubby’s name is Gilles so he thought it might be too confusing since some cannot pronounce his name with the French accent it requires and it comes off sounding like Gill (Jill)! I was pretty sad about not naming our first girl Gillian. But we did agree upon my second choice – Amanda! Picking character names is so much fun now and it’s funny how many of my short stories over the years have contained the name ‘Gillian’!

    1. Janet Sketchley Post author

      It’s funny how names we like and can’t use in the real world turn up in our fiction 🙂 And in Without Proof, coming this November, Amy’s dead fiance was named Gilles. They talk about him a lot, so I’m including a pronunciation key in the front of the book for his and a few other non-English names. With his, I wrote “the ‘g’ makes a zh sound as in ‘treasure’, and the name rhymes with ‘hill,’ so say ‘zhil’ (If you have to, call him Jill. Please don’t call him Giles, or he may haunt you.)”

      1. Glynis

        Hahaha! Gilles gets Giles, Gillies, Joe, Jill, Jills – you name it. He answers to pretty much anything – especially ‘Hon’! 🙂

  11. Janet Sketchley Post author

    And our winner is Mary P, as chosen by the random Rafflecopter winner-picker! Congratulations, Mary, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy this novel.

    Thank you, everyone, for participating, and I hope you’ll track down a copy of the book for your own reading pleasure.

    Patricia, thanks so much for your post and for donating a book.


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