What’s in a Name?

Readers and authors alike may have pondered this question many times. What exactly is in name, and does it really matter?

Speaking specifically as an author, a great deal of thought has gone into naming the characters, and title of a book. We just want to get it right.

Just suppose that Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind had been called John Butler. Would we have still thought him the hero?

Margaret Mitchell the author of Gone with the Wind had originally planned to call her story ‘Pansy’, after the main female protagonist. She later re-named her ‘Scarlett’, and re-titled her book, Gone with the Wind.

I deliberated long and hard on naming my current novel and characters.

The male lead had to exude authority. I wanted to show his English heritage. I chose Robert Tremayne. For the female lead, I actually chose a French name. I called her Marielle Stevens, hoping to bring a little intrigue and mystery.

The title of the book eluded me. What to call it? After much deliberation I decided on The Return.

Robert Tremayne is held hostage for two years, and then returns to Britain, and freedom. Unfortunately, Robert is a very changed man. The story concentrates on the emotional turmoil, as he returns eventually to the man Marielle knew and loved.

Blurb: Whilst on assignment in Iraq, English TV presenter and journalist Robert Tremayne is captured by the Islamic Jihad, and held hostage. His soul mate, Marielle, can barely come to terms with her loss but tries to move on with her life.

Two years later Robert is discovered alive. Marielle is overjoyed, but her life has changed beyond all recognition, and the man she loved is now very different. His time in Iraq has left him cold, emotionless and detached. There’s much to tell, and each wants desperately to return to the way things once were.

With the past always there to come between them, will they be able to recapture their lost love? Will they ever be happy again?

Jan lives in the East of England with her husband. When she’s not writing Jan loves to paint. You can see some of her paintings on her website here.

Her new novel, Lessons in Love is due to be released soon.

To find out more about The Return:


  1. Jan,
    Enjoyed your fun post about names. The Return sounds great!

  2. very good post and I very much like the sound of the book- intrique, suspense, sorrow….

  3. Chiming in late here. You are so right about names. Sometimes they just come to you, but most times, it takes research to find the best name for that character. And titles. Don’t get me started. I’ve been known to be 3/4 through a book before I find a title that fits the story. Great post, Jan. Thanks!

  4. Thanks Victoria.

    I really enjoyed writing The Return. It was something that I think I had to get out of my system.

  5. Thank you Robyn

    The Return does have a lot of emotion running through it. There’s also some lighter moments too 🙂


  6. Hi Laurie

    I know what you mean. My WIP is just called My New Suspense Novel at the moment. And the lead female – I’m still not happy about her name. She’s already telling me she doesn’t like it. Ha, ha


  7. Thank goodness Margaret Mitchell didn’t go for Pansy! LOL

    Great interview! Lovely to know more about you, Jan.

  8. Hi Sassy

    Thanks for stopping by. Pansy just wouldn’t have had the same effect. Ha, ha

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