Where do you get the names for your characters?

Hunter Pence--A name and look made for a novel action hero.
Hunter Pence–Action Hero

That is one of the most common questions I get from people who are kind enough to read my books and stories.  The best answer is from anywhere there is a list of names.  Graduation lists are great resources, people in photographs in the newspaper, church bulletins, anywhere really.  The eye is the portal of creativity.  It is often good to take first names and match them with other last names.

But inspiration can come from anywhere.  As I watched game five of the World Series last night, it occurred to me that the entire starting lineup of the San Francisco Giants have excellent novel names.  In my mind I built a plot for each one of them.

CF Gregor Blanco–An assassin who specializes in international jobs.  He has a handlebar moustache.

2B Joe Panik–1960s era private investigator.  That he plays in San Francisco just screams Bogie

C Buster Posey–Banker from the 1920s-30s.  He wears suspenders and a bow tie.  A close personal friend of Daddy Warbucks.

3B Pablo Sandoval–A desperate artist who lives in Miami.  He probably has a sordid past,  maybe a couple of children he left behind in New York.

RF Hunter Pence–My favorite!  He a loner who makes an incredible discovery about the origins of the cosmos while backpacking through Mongolia.  (Note–If you want to know what my mental image of Wyoming Wallace, Hunter Pence is pretty close)

1B Brandon Belt–A bartender who has lots of luck with the ladies, until he finds the one girl who is the gin to his tonic.  Soul patch, tall, lanky. 

LF Travis Ishikawa–This name just screams scientist.  Ishikawa develops a time machine that . . .

SS Brandon Crawford–Brandon Crawford is a Hollywood superstar, but beneath the perfect smile and hair he hides a dark secret.

SP Madison Bumgarner–President Madison Bumgarner must overcome international terrorists and domestic political division to unify the nation before its too late. 

Yeah, these are some great names.  Sadly, Kansas City just doesn’t have quite the pizzazz that the Giant names do.

image of Hunter Pence from


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