Good morning! Please help me welcome author Jill Sorenson to the convertible! Jill is a fellow member of my Romance Writers of America local chapter. She is a lovely lady with a warm smile who writes hot romantic suspense. I love that the hero of her book, Crash Into Me, is a pro surfer…so was the hero of my very first published romance. Thanks for riding with us today, Jill!
What’s in a name?
I’ve spent a lot of time—probably too much—thinking about names. First names, last names. Pen names, character names. Names are an important part of our identity. Some authors use pseudonyms, but Jill Sorenson is my real name. I think it has a nice ring to it! When I got married, I kept my last name. Maybe because I had a secret yearning to see it on the cover of book someday. : )
Have you ever looked up your family name on a site like Ancestry.com? I just found out that Soren is derived from the Latin Severus, or Severin, which means “stern.” An interesting tidbit, and I think it fits my ancestors. Although I live in San Diego (where no one is stern), I was born in Kansas. Midwesterners have a tendency to be stoic and reserved. Even stern.
I can’t start a new project until I’ve picked the right names for my hero and heroine. I look up baby names online and refer to the biographical entries in the back of my dictionary. Secondary characters are subject to change, but I rarely go back once I’ve named a main character.
Sonora Vasquez, the FBI agent heroine of Crash Into Me, is named after the Sonora Desert. Prickly and isolated are two adjectives that suit her well. This desert also straddles the US/Mexico border, and Sonny must navigate between these two cultures.
Ben Fortune, the hero, also has a meaningful name. Born into wealth in the elite community of La Jolla, California, this handsome, world-class surfer is one fortunate son. He’s also no stranger to tragedy. He’s a widower, a single dad, and a murder suspect.
Sonny goes undercover in La Jolla as “Summer Moore,” and she gets very friendly with Ben over the course of the investigation. When he learns of the deception, he’s understandably angry. Tensions come to a head during a scene in which she reveals her true name:
“My real name isn’t Summer,” she explained. “It’s Sonny.”
For some reason, that admission drove him over the edge. In an unconscious imitation of the first time he tried to kiss her, he came forward, framing her chin with his hand and trapping her body against the wall. “I don’t give a damn what your real name is. Do you think I believe anything that comes out of your lying mouth?”
The instant he said mouth, she became aware of his hot gaze focused there, his large hand cupping her chin, his thumb pressing into her cheek. His body was hard and unyielding against hers, his chest rising and falling with every furious breath.
This time, it was he who closed the distance between them, lowering his mouth to hers. His kiss was rough and angry, meant to punish, not to please, but she welcomed it. She relished it. Slipping her arms around his neck and her tongue into his mouth, she moaned, digging her fingernails into his shoulders and begging for more.
Are names important to you, as a reader or a writer? Does your first or last name have a special meaning? Have you ever picked up a book (or put one down) because of a character’s name?