I agonize over my character names. They have to be just right. I have baby name books, Scottish name books, name websites flagged in my favorites, a compiled list on my computer of all my favorites, male and female. Sometimes I even pull out the phone book in search of the perfect name. I can't start writing the book until I get it right, find the one that fits. Take the second contemporary I'm playing around with. For some reason, the hero's name has to be Dash. I can't get it out of my head and even though I'm not sure it's my most favorite name ever, it fits the character to a tee. So Dash it is. Although I've compromised by having that be a nickname. I'm not entirely sure what his mother calls him yet.
I'm the same way with the books I read. The character's name can stop me cold.
Take Gervase for instance. I don't like it. It doesn't say sexy to me. It says, "I'm a smarmy little French guy with a bad moustache and oily skin." It takes some pretty powerful writing to get me over that name. Mary Balogh pulled it off in her Slightly series, but I can't think of anyone else off the top of my head.
And I'm quite certain if the heroine was named Bertha or Helga, I would have to leave the book behind on the shelf.
Similarly, I find I react the same to certain physical types. An overly hairy hero? Ugh. Or facial hair (this could potentially go for the hero or the heroine I suppose, although I have yet to run into the latter...). Not big on the facial hair at all. And when a heroine is described as a six foot amazon all I can picture is some refugee from the roller derby ready to arm-wrestle the hero into submission, sling him over her shoulder and drag him back to her cave. Not really the romantic picture I want in my head while I'm reading.
So does anyone else have any quirks, likes, dislikes about the characters they write about, or the ones they read about?