I have been criticised by quite a few people for the unusual names I have for my characters in my novels… All I can say is that in real life people do have unusual names, I’m sure everyone knows people with unusual, strange or actually quite odd names. Children these days are often given such unusual names that it is sometimes a puzzle to know what gender they are, or how you pronounce or spell them.
In Radwinter, my novel about a family in search of their history, the names seem quite ordinary… but I didn’t decide to give them ordinary names, I tried to think what names might have been given to them by their parents, in keeping with name-fashion at the time and that is what I always try to do. I do a lot of thinking about what to call people in my novels, although sometimes, I admit, names do arrive with the characters, from wherever they must be lurking in my brain!
So in Radwinter, there are the four brothers whose ages range from fifty to thirty something, and their names are Marcus, Paul, John and Thomas; they have (or had wives) called Jill, Susan, Eleanor and Fiona, and Rebecca, and the two who have children call them quite conventional first names. However paul gives his four sons ‘ordinary’ names but with an interesting middle name, so David Django, Luke Dylan, Samuel Otis and Tom Bowie, and two of the boys choose their middle name and are known as Otis and Django. The in the family has grandchildren, and in keeping with the modern style of naming, two are called Boston and Paris, and two are called Phyllis and Joan – the old pre-war names are back in fashion!