I had a radio interview yesterday on What's Write for Me. One of the potential questions was about how I pick character names... We didn't get a chance to cover this one during the interview. Amazing how the time flies when you're talking to a fellow author and book lover.
My answer? Baby name websites are invaluable. I usually have a first letter in mind or, at least, a country of origin which makes searching much easier. Particular time period requirements (for instance popular in the 1960's) also narrow the search. Then I look at name meanings. And, finally, I google the full name to make sure it doesn't belong to a famous person. I prefer unique names so this isn't usually an issue.
My main character in A Fairy's Quest is Alina Lehrer. Alina means "bright, beautiful, noble" and is of Slavic origin. Variations of the name include Helena (Czech and Swedish) and Adelina (French).
Authors, how do you pick your character names?
Readers, do you prefer common or unusual character names?