A lot, actually.
Names wield power. Immense power. They create impressions. Moreover, your choice of names can easily make or break the story.
Imagine a being powerful enough to take on the gods and win. One who inspires fear and/or desire wherever she goes. If people are calling her Fluffy--I don't know about y'all but I would think of some pampered pooch with ribbons in its hair who never walks on his/her own legs because someone feels the need to carry it, or…a stripper.
Names can tell us so much about the hero/heroine. I know a lot of my hero/heroines take on traits that are linked to their name's connotation. It helps to create them, make them from a mere thought to a 3-dimensional person, which hopefully, the readers can relate. Names help us in uncovering the characters heritage.
When picking names, we need to be mindful of the time period we're writing in and stay true to names which were used then. Yes, paranormal has an advantage (as do fantasy and sci-fi especially if creating one's own world). However, if you are writing a paranormal historical in which the heroine in human and from the 12th century, having her name to be Sparkle or Montana would be odd and very unlikely. These are the sorts of things which have a tendency to yank a reader from your story in a heartbeat. Time travel makes more things possible for there is always a way to explain the name.
Baby name books are also wonderful tools to utilize when looking. One of my favourites to use and is always beside my desk is Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Her book is amazing and so easy to use. There are many wonderful baby name sites on the web to peruse while searching for that perfect name for your hero and heroine. So you can search by meaning, gender, ethnicity, and more. Also going to a country's website, like a tourism site, and look at the articles written, it's a good way to see which names are being used now...or then.
No matter what process you use to discover the perfect name for your characters, I hope you have a fun and wonderful journey. Remember, some things work better for one person than another, so perhaps you will discover that using books will be better than the web.
There is absolutely no right or wrong way to search for the names to bring your characters to life.
Happy writing & happy reading!
Aliyah Burke is an avid reader and is never far from pen and paper (or the computer). She loves to hear from her readers and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or feel free to apply to join her yahoo group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aliyah_burke.
She is married to a career military man, they have a German Shepherd, a Borzoi, and a DSH cat. Her days are spent sharing her time between work, writing, and dog training.
Can a mortal man, without magic or coercion, bring a goddess to her knees just with the power of his love?
Damian Keith teaches Ancient Egyptian history but his love lies in the magic of mythology. An amateur collector of artefacts, he spends much time reading ancient books. Lately his dreams have been invaded by a woman whose touch leaves him breathless and wanting more. Much more. But she never reveals her face to him.
Amenitre Seini is really the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet. Mortal, Damian Keith has enthralled her like no one before. She visits him in his dreams until she can no longer resist the urge to touch him while he's awake and heads to Earth.
Do they stand a chance at a future together or will Damian push her away once he learns of her deception and who and what she truly is? Can she convince him her love is real and that only in the beginning was it about…