Sometimes, you hear a name and immediately think of something bad, like the kid who picked on you in grade school, or you remember something good, like your first love. Okay, so we were in third grade and he gave me a ring — my dad’s eyebrows raised when he saw it. “That’s a washer,” he laughed. What did I know?

Sometimes, names stick with me and I file them in my imaginary name drawer — Parker, Easton, Hunter.

Sometimes, I like the people so much I want their names in my books.

My debut novel, only six weeks away, is titled “Love’s Secret Fire.” My hero is named Adam Michaels, after my stepson, Adam Michael Koontz. I love that boy! (Both my stepsons, to be honest)

My heroine is named Valerie Daniels, after my niece, Valerie, and my nephew, Dan. I love those two as well.

I’ve got a bastard in the book too. He’s named after two dear friends whose names I thought mixed together perfectly to make a good bad-guy name. He is Richard Fredtoni. Fred and Toni are pleased!

I explained my character naming process to a friend of mine the other day and she laughed and said she was amazed at how my mind works.

There are authors who say “be careful, you might end up in my book.” I don’t know about that but be warned, your name might end up in mine


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