In other cases, I pick specific surnames to go with the heritage of the character. Or they might have a particular meaning I’m going for in relation to the character’s personality traits.
Other times I’m just completely stumped.
I’m working on a new paranormal romance. It’s about a witch who returns to her small East Texas town after a ten year absence only to learn she’s there for a reason bigger than anything she expected. I couldn’t think of a surname for her aunt who passes away in the opening so I did what I always do when that happens.
iGoogle. (Meaning I crack open the interwebs :) )
Did you know you can find a list of the most popular surnames in the US? The UK? The World? You can also find the meaning of a surname, the origin, the coat of arms. It’s really fascinating stuff. I suppose all that comes in handy for the genealogists of the world. But for a writer? It’s a gold mine.
Just in case you were wondering, the top ten surnames in the US are:
The funny thing is I found a GREAT website that ranked surnames. I can’t for the life of me remember how I searched for it and now I can’t find it again. That’s maddening. Especially when I KNOW it’s out there somewhere. Maybe I’ll figure out my search string—with Google it's all about how you search for things.
So there you have it. A little bit about how I find surnames for my characters. Don’t even get me started on first names for my characters. That’s a whole ‘nother blog post! ;)