When I’m writing, the names of my characters are always very important – quite often it takes me a long time to get to them. Sometimes when I do it’s a plain old name that arrives (in The Butterfly Heart the neighbour is called Fred) or it can be something a little off the wall: one of the twins in the book e.g. has the name Madillo, her parents naming her after a certain creature that inhabits South America and whose name, in translation from the Spanish, means ‘little armoured one.’
I suppose for those who, like me, write from character rather than from plot, names do acquire a significance. I want to know my characters well, really so I can see where they’re heading with the story!