Have you ever wondered where authors come up with names for their characters? I never really thought about it until I started writing fiction and had to name my own characters.

Here’s how I came up with some of the names for the characters in my novel, PERIL: Fast Track Thriller #1:

Lady Anne – For some reason, I just always knew what this character’s name was. I never really had to think about it.

Stuart Jackson – Like the character himself, his name is a compilation. I wanted the character to be an average NASCAR driver, so I gave him characteristics similar to a number of well-known drivers. I continued that by giving him first and last names that are similar to well-known drivers.

Neil Van der Haas – I envisioned blue-eyed, blond-headed Neil to be of Dutch descent, so I gave him parents who came to the U.S. from the Netherlands. For his given name, I came up with a Dutch name, Nels, that could be easily converted to an English name. For his last name, I came up with a Dutch-sounding name that is similar to the Dutch last name of a penpal I wrote to for years.

Joanne Van der Haas – When I first created the stories I eventually combined together to create The Race that Lies Before Us, they were "what if" stories about me. What if I were in this situation? What if I could do this? What if I had this type of job? So I came up with a name that is similar to my own name.

Troy Collins – I combined the name of two towns I’ve lived in: Troy and Collinsville.

Stuart's sister – Although she’s not a character in this book, when I needed to mention Stuart’s sister, I needed to give her a name. So I came up with a name that starts with "st" like Stuart’s does.