Naming characters is extremely stressful. What’s in a name? Everything. If your characters’ names are too hard to remember or impossible to say, people will not become as attached to them as we want them to. It’s hard to really feel for people that you can’t refer to in conversation for fear of mispronouncing their names.
There are a lot of wonderfully inventive names in books. Legolas, Dumbledore, Eragon to name a few, but those names are still easy to read. And since The Tethering is set in current America, making up really strange names for a bunch of characters seemed a bit outrageous. Some of the characters do have whimsical names, just not the ones who might need to register for high school.
So, I chose nice normal names. But a lot of the good, strong names have already been used in recent series. Since my book has wizards, I clearly couldn’t use the name Harry. My protagonist is named Jacob Evans. A good, strong, normal name. Unfortunately, my line editor already made a joke about “Team Jacob,” which I suppose is inevitable. And who knows? Maybe my Jacob will get t-shirts with his picture, too. But how long is a name from a popular book out of bounds?
My leading lady is named Emilia. Shakespeare had an Emilia. Should I not use that name either? I chose the names because they were right for my characters. The world they live in is a world all their own where they don’t share their names with anyone. And that is the best I can do.
I know “Nameology” isn’t a real word, but hey, it makes me happy.