Hands down, one of the most difficult parts of writing for me is picking out character names. It's like naming a child: the kid has to live with this name, and I have to call the kid by this name for the rest of my life. So I don't want to pick a name that I'm going to get sick of.
That's happened before. I've changed some characters' names umpteen times before finally settling on something that satisfies me. And it can't be a name of someone I know, either, because the character can't resemble someone who already exists.
I like to pick first names that are somewhere in the middle between common and unique.
For example, in Play the Man, I picked Jenna, Ryan, and Nick.
In Shots on Net, I picked Shannon/Shay and Kevin.
Last names can be just as difficult. If a character is a hockey player from a particular foreign country, say Russia or Sweden, then it's easy to pick a last name. But American and Canadian names are tougher, because so many last names have foreign bases, or spellings were changed when families immigrated here. But again, I like names that are relatively common. Really, I feel like it gives the characters a realistic feel.
For Game On, the selection process was just as difficult, but I've settled on the following first names for my main characters: Audrey Hunt and Nathan/Nate Fox.
Of course, there are plenty of other names that get picked out: friends and family, other players on the team, coaches and staff, co-workers, etc. But nothing's as difficult as those leading characters' names.
As always, feel free to tell me what you think. Are you excited to meet Audrey and Nate?