What’s in a Name? by RoseAnn DeFranco

What’s in a Name? Naming Rafe Iuliano from Return to Audubon Springs

Hello and thank you for having me here today on Long and Short Reviews! I love naming characters. When I first started writing, I couldn’t move forward until I had the perfect name. I would think about my character’s traits and then research words that embodied them using baby naming websites until I found a name that translated into something that really embodied the character.

The Brothers of Audubon Springs series was not intended to be the funny, heartwarming, family centric story of the Iuliano men and their extended Family. I set out to tell the story of the broken and dysfunctional wealthy Grant family who returned to their summer family home in Audubon Springs to grieve the passing of Emma’s, father. That idea changed drastically when I sat down to name the characters.

I knew I wanted a sexy local carpenter in the story, because who can resist a man who knows how to use his tools? This spark of an idea started a windfall for the rest of the project. I wanted my hero to be a man who would not only make the large, cold house a home, but also had the ability to heal. I wanted him to be Italian because of my own family heritage (that old adage – write what you know), and in doing so, I gave him a background and upbringing a polar opposite to what Emma was accustomed to.

Searching for the meaning of healing in Italian names brought me to Rafaello which means God has healed. I shortened the name to Rafe and assumed he’d be the man to help Emma heal and find her feet after losing her father. Only, when she got there, Rafe was already there waiting in the house he’d already turned into a home, and the healing had much more to do with her unresolved history with Rafe and any shot they might have for a happy ending. It all made perfect sense. I love a good reunion story, and reunions are a great opportunity for healing.

I wonder if readers look to the meaning of characters names in the books, and I love to hear how other writers go about naming their characters.

About the Author: 12_4 RoseAnn DeFranco (2)RoseAnn DeFranco grew up in upstate NY with her nose in a book and a song in her heart. Following the pursuit of a musical theatre career in NYC, she turned her creative energy to writing funny, steamy romance with heart. A NJ shore transplant, she enjoys time spent at the beach with her family and would love to one day live in a quaint shore town like the fictional town from her BROTHERS OF AUDUBON SPRINGS series. More information about these Contemporary Romantic Comedies can be found at RADeFranco.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

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MEDIA KIT ReturntoAudubonSprings_8071_750When Emma Grant returns to her family’s Audubon Springs beach house to fulfill the stipulations of her father’s will, she has every intention of forcing her former lover out of the house for good. She’s never fit into her wealthy family and would prefer avoiding her past, but with her brother threatening to reveal her young daughter, she has no choice.

Rafe Iuliano has other plans. The wealthy Grants tried to bribe him out of Emma’s life years ago, but he’s determined to prove once and for all that a master carpenter is worthy of Emma and the house.

Their ridiculous and steamy battle for the house reignites the love and passion that bloomed between them years ago. But when Rafe discovers she’s kept their daughter a secret for two years, can he overcome anger and pride to claim his family and the love of his life, or will the deception drive a final wedge between them?

Buy the book at Amazon.


  1. Hello! Thank you so much for having me here today! What are some of your favorite fictional names and why?

  2. I never think about the meaning of names. I just know what sounds good to me and Rafe sounds like a sexy, capable man. I’ve read this book and loved it! Congrats on your debut!

  3. Vicki Batman says

    Hi, Rose! It’s all about fit for me. Names I like and if they fit the character and the hero/heroine. There are names I won’t use. I like how you researched and found your hero’s name and what it means.

  4. I love the name Rafe. Very masculine and sexy. Congrats on the debut!

  5. I like a bit of humor in my mystery character’s names, mostly because my heroines use humor to heal and handle life’s difficulties. When I write paranormal, however, I research names for their meanings. Names hold a lot of power, so I try to use wisely.

  6. Hi RoseAnn,

    The names suited your characters. I loved them both. I toss names around until I find one that feels right. Sometimes I’ll look up the meaning, sometimes I won’t. Oddly enough, I’ve often found the meaning works for my characters even though I didn’t know it until after I picked it.

  7. Mia Lansford says

    Hi RoseAnn,

    Loved RTAS. I thought u picked perfect names for them without even knowing there was meaning behind them. Looking forward to Secondhand Romance and wishing you all the best in life.
    Happy Holidays

  8. Hi RoseAnn. Thanks for sharing how you came up with Rafe’s name. My dad, also of Italian descent, was almost named Rafael (close). I can remember my grandmother telling my cousin and me this when we were kids. The name is very fitting for your hero. I loved RtAS and look forward to the next books in the series!

  9. I know what you mean about names! Writing historical fiction, I look to see what names were popular in the time frame I’m working in. Best of luck on your book!


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