Debra 'doubled up' on a character's name.
My story An Unexpected Blessing features a little boy named Kyle. I didn't pick that name for any particular reason, but it came to me and I liked it, so I went with it.
When it came time to write Fourth of July at The Corral, I needed another boys' name for the heroine's son. I really didn't know what I wanted it to be, but I wanted to keep moving with the story, so I tossed Kyle in there as a 'place holder', fully intending to go back and change it when I came up with his 'real' name.
Wouldn't you know it? Turns out the little boy in that story really was a Kyle. The more I wrote, the more I didn't want to change it. I especially loved how it played off of the hero's (his father) name: Tyler. With the similar pattern in the spelling, it helped to solidify their connection.
I debated and debated with myself. How terrible would it be to have two characters in two different books with the same name? It bugged me for a long time. Ultimately, however, I stuck with Kyle for the Fourth of July book. I never would have done it with a hero or heroine, but in the end, I couldn't name that little boy anything else. He WAS Kyle.
I did once 'borrow' a character's last name in a WIP for a character in another book I was going to finish first. In that instance, I did go back and change the original name to something else.
Sometimes coming up with the right name is harder than others. I've also learned my lesson with secondary characters. Since I've used so many of them from my 'main' stories in spin-offs of their own, I've learned to think carefully about those names too. You never know when they might demand a story of their own!
Until next time,