This is a fun post, but a) I can’t say that I have noticed a great preponderance of Katherines in recent novels, or b) I also can’t say that the name “Katniss” struck me as a form of Katherine. Does that seem to be kind of reaching, or is that just me?
On the other hand, it’s quite true that Kate Daniels (whom you may know from Ilona Andrews’ novels) doesn’t really seem to me like a “Kate.” But then, Anita Blake never seemed much like an “Anita” to me either, back when I still read those. Come to think of it, Kelly Armstrong’s Elena never seemed like an “Elena” to me. I think this may say more about me than about naming conventions for kickass paranormal protagonists. I expect I just prefer character names that are, I don’t know, not the names of people I actually know? I suspect it’s just hard to come up with names that aren’t too screwy and yet are unusual enough to avoid sounding like eveybody’s best friend from college.
Anyway, let me just mention, one big advantage to writing a secondary world fantasy is you will never, ever have anybody complaining that your character just doesn’t feel like a “Kate” to them. I definitely have three times more trouble naming characters for any contemporary-ish story than I’ve ever had for a secondary world fantasy. And I just can’t call them all X, Y and Z and plug the names in later (I actually do know someone who does this, but . . . really?)
Here’s a question: Has a character ever been so badly named (for you) that it interfered with your enjoyment of a book?
For me the immediate answer is YES. Pug, in Raymond Feist’s Magician series. I mean . . . Pug? Pug?
How about you?