When I wrote I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, I sat down with these characters in my head and a story to tell. Only problem was, they didn't have names.
Ava came out of nowhere. It was weird. But I loved the name. I don't really remember how I came up with Jackson. But once I had their first names, I had to think of last names. I think I knew a lady named Ava Bender at one time, a long time ago. So I borrowed her name. Jackson's last name popped into my head as I tried to think of something that went well with it - Jackson Montgomery.
Later, I discovered why that name sounded so pleasant to my ears. There's a character on All My Children named Jackson, and guess what HIS last name is? I think Tina mentioned that to me shortly after the book came out. At first I was horrified. Then, I laughed about it. I certainly didn't copy the name on PURPOSE!
Interestingly enough, a couple of years after my book came out, both the names Ava and Jackson showed up on the "most popular baby names" lists. I'd like to think it's because of my book, but I'm pretty sure it's just a weird coincidence.
Like others have said, either names come really easily to me, or they don't, and it is pure agony trying to think of a name that fits and I haven't used before. I mostly use baby name web sites. I'll google what I'm looking for in a name - unique boy name or cool girl name and surprisingly, something usually comes up.
HOW did writers survive before the internet is what I want to know!?
~Lisa, Miss Crafting a Career