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What's In A Name?

It's funny that when you write a book you put so much time and thought into its title, but when you write a series, like I do, I think the more important thing is what you name you main character.

Don't believe me - let me prove my point. If I say Jack Reacher, you might be able to name a few titles but even the most die hard fans probably won't be able to recite them all. If you say I'm reading the most recent Reacher book then everyone knows what you're talking about.

It's the same with Hercule Poriot, Miss Marple, Vera Stanhope, Rebus and so on. We're invested in the character and whilst the book title is important, mainly in my case so I can double check that I haven't already read it, it is not the most important thing.

I always knew Rowan was going to be called Rowan - it's a very special name to me and has a lot of personal meaning. Her surname however was harder to decide upon and before McFarlane she had several different alternatives that just didn't quite fit the bill. In the end I got inspiration from one of my daughters friends names, I've used a slight variation on the spelling but I knew it was perfect.

Sometimes when I'm writing a new character in and I haven't decided on the name I'll give them a filler name, this might be the name of someone I went to school with or someone I've worked with, then in the edit when I feel like I've got to know that character then I'll go through and change it.

Alana and Sonya are named in honour of two of my good friends, people who believed in me and made me feel like my ambition was achievable and occasionally I do use the names of the people I know - friends who've told me they've read and loved my books. It's a small way of thanking them for their support.

I hope one day to hear people talk about Rowan the same way they do about the names I previously mentioned.

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