Pauline Rowson explains how she chooses names for her characters in her crime novels

Getting the right name for characters in a novel can be a tricky business. Sometimes they come to me completely out of the blue as I am creating a character, other times I will struggle to find the name that best suits the character.

I have always had this thing that people should look like their names. When someone is introduced to me I will think yes, you are a Jacqueline or a Malcolm. Other times I will think, oh no, you're definitely a Karen or a Wayne. And so it is with the characters I am creating. The name has to fit. If it's not right then the character isn't right. The name also needs to fit with the age and nationality although you can have exceptions.

So where do I get names from?

When seeking inspiration for first names I turn to my little book of baby's names or I will look up a web site of baby's names. I also keep an ear out for any unusual or interesting names when meeting people and will jot these down.

Cemeteries also provide one with a wide choice of first names and I scan the credits on television programmes and films to find those names that might fit with the character I am creating.

As to surnames, I let my finger do the choosing and tend to pick these out of an atlas or street map. Then I see if it fits with the first name and the character.  The more novels I write  though the greater the danger of repeating names, it's easy to forget those I have already used.

With my new marine crime series I needed a punchy name for the protagonist a former Royal Marine Commando, Special Boat Services Officer and came up with Art Marvik, hoping it lends him a touch of mystery and ruggedness.  Art is not short for Arthur, I just liked  the sound of it, although I have to admit it resonates with the character played by Bruce Willis in the wonderful film, Mercury Rising. To me Art sounds edgy just like the character. Marvik because he uses his mother's name who was Finnish.

Silent Running, the first in the marine based crime series, featuring Art Marvik, will be released as an ebook on 20 December 2015 just in time for Christmas and will also be available on Amazon Kindle from 20 December.

Adrift after leaving the marines, Marvik finds himself being used as bait to catch a ruthless killer whose slaying spree spans the decades. It's a mission that will put all his skills and training to the test- a dangerous assignment that could cost him his life. Tough, fearless and fit, Marvik is not bound by the rules of the law.

  And where did Andy Horton come from? I've no idea. He just sprang to mind both the name and the character and long might he thrive along with Art Marvik.

Shroud of Evil, DI Horton number 11 is now available in hardcover and as an ebook and on Amazon Kindle.

Andy is assigned what appears to be a trivial case of a missing person, private investigator Jasper Kenton, who he believes has absconded with a client 's money but when Kenton turns up dead all that changes. What's more the case has some surprising personal ramifications for Horton which forces him to withhold vital information. As he struggles to crack the case, he knows it is only a question of time before someone discovers he’s kept silent and when that’s revealed, his part in hindering a major investigation could end his career.

Fatal Catch the twelfth in the popular DI Andy Horton crime series has been published in the UK in hardcover by Severn House Publishers. (28 September 2015). It will be published in the USA on the 1 January 2016 and released as an ebook on 20 December 2015.

Andy Horton is called out to examine a gruesome catch by two fishermen: a human hand.Is it that of missing violent criminal Alfie Wright – or is he the killer? And where is the rest of the corpse?   Soon Horton finds himself immersed in a complex case where everyone has a reason to lie and no one is who they seem. Assailed by doubts both in his personal and professional life, Horton desperately tries to keep his emotional feelings under control and his focus on his work. His instincts tell him to trust no one and believe nothing; he’s not sure though whether this time he’ll succeed … 

 Available from all good book retailers and for loan in UK, Commonwealth and USA libraries.

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