My MG novel had two girl protags named Anna and Claire. Anna is THE main character, Claire is her best friend and is in the novel from beginning to end. I always wanted to name one of my characters in one of my books Claire. And it really fit good in the novel that I just finished. Claire was Claire. But I really had a lot of trouble settling on Anna's name. Which now, I can't imagine her having any other name. Anna is Anna. But I went through a lot of names, even Claire for the main character. Claire was the best friend. It was a feeling I had. I finally thought about my Irish grandmother. Her name was Anna and she was a strong little lady. So the Anna was given to my girl.
How do you pick the names for your books? I really want to know. I find it interesting. My new novel has a boy for a main character, Michael. And I went around and around with that too. He was originally Jack. Jack ended up being his stepfather. The names tell me where they want to go as the characters are becoming more real to me. I do believe that if you're writing a book like historical fiction that you need to check and see what names were popular in your time period. And I read that the names Brian, Keith, Gary, Christine,(care to weigh in Chris) Sharon, Carol and Linda should only be used for characters over forty. In other words those are the names of parents or grandparents for those of us writing for children.
What say my pals in the blogosphere? :)