Sometimes they’re just so obvious. Of course his name is Eddie Haven, what else would it be? Isadora Peabody. Eliza Flyte. Michelle Turner. Olivia Bellamy. Mary Dare. Will Bonner. They just popped into my mind and stuck, helping to shape the character.

Other times (um, now), it all feels so artificial. I think it was Elmore Leonard who said (I’m paraphrasing), “Don’t let your characters’ names sound like made-up names.”

So here’s where I am. I’m writing about two sisters, Isabel and Tess. That’s fine, they sound like sisters. The surname is what’s tripping me up. Due to a backstory that accesses an event in WWII, they need a Danish or maybe Swedish surname.

So far, all I’ve come up with are names that sound like Ikea furniture, or…well, you be the judge.

Skytte
Højgaard
Bager
Skriver
Fogh
Kock
Lynge
Klitgaard
With all due respect to the Danes, these are not going to fly with English-speaking readers.
I’m getting tripped up by the letter S. Both Isabel and Tess are already sibilant enough, so I’m looking for something that feels natural, pretty, and doesn’t make me hiss like a snake.
Comments?