posted on July 6, 2017 by Julie Ann Walker

When Characters Name Themselves

by Julie Ann Walker

I’m just going to come out and say it. I’m weird.

Unlike most authors, I don’t obsess about my characters’ names. I don’t search baby name books. I don’t spend days or weeks trying to come up with just the right sobriquet or moniker or appellation. Instead, my characters name themselves.

Yep, you heard me right. They name themselves. I take pages and pages of notes on my characters before I begin a book. I learn my protagonists’ back stories from childhood through adulthood. I get to know their personalities, the foibles and fancies and all the fun stuff that makes them individuals. And by the end of this process, they are named. I mean, it’s just there. In. My. Head. A name blinking like a neon sign on a moonless night.

That means that sometimes I have characters with really fun or fancy names, like Ozzie Sykes and Delilah Fairchild. Other times I have characters with really normal, everyday names, like Frank Knight and Samantha Tate. But the characters in FUEL FOR FIRE, my newest release, surprised me with their names.

For one, the hero is Dagan Zoelner. I mean, I’ve never met a Dagan in my life. Where did that name come from? I’ve since learned that Dagan means “the earth.” Which is kind of appropriate since Dagan is gruff and gritty, pragmatic and real. And then there’s my heroine, Chelsea Duvall. Chelsea? Really? My arch-nemesis in college — otherwise known as the girl who copied off my calculus test and then blamed me for being the cheat — was named Chelsea. Ugh! Why would my heroine name herself that? But, alas, she did. And luckily she proved that not all Chelseas are bad. In fact, some are pretty darn awesome.

So pick up a copy of FUEL FOR FIRE today! Get to know spec-ops hottie Dagan Zoelner and CIA analyst Chelsea Duvall!


A brooding covert operative and a spunky CIA agent discover a burning passion in the latest installment of Julie Ann Walker’s red-hot BKI series

Dagan Zoelner has made three huge mistakes:
The first two left blood on his hands.
The third left him wondering…what if? What if he had told the woman of his dreams how he felt before his world fell apart?

Spitfire CIA agent Chelsea Duvall has always had a thing for bossy, brooding Dagan. It’s just as well that he’s never given her a second look, since she carries a combustible secret about his past that threatens to torch their lives…




Julie Ann Walker

Julie Ann Walker

Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Bookseller's Best Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award. Her books have been described as "alpha, edgy, and downright hot." Most days you can find Julie on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.  

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One thought on “When Characters Name Themselves”

  1. Avatar Arlene says:

    Cool way you come up with your characters names

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