So I’m working on the new novel, and I have a nice sort of everyman name for my villain. I generated the name more or less at random, getting the first name from a local restaurant and the last from one of the authors with a book on my office shelf. I liked the rhythm of the name, and so in it went.
This morning, my protagonist is doing some online searching for the villain in the Atlanta metro area. So just for the heck of it, I typed “[Villain’s name] Atlanta” into Google.
And I found him. In the right part of the area — that is, where I’ve set some of the action already. In the right age bracket, for crying out loud.
Now of course, the odds of this thing seeing print are fairly slim, and the chances of someone who knows Mr. Villain — or heaven forbid, Mr. Villain himself — encountering the novel, even if does come out, are even more slender. But then again, what were the odds of someone who shared a name with the hero of Isaac Asimov’s first published story encountering Mr. Asimov and knowing enough to introduce himself? My dad did. And I’d certainly run the standard disclaimer that goes with this kind of thing — the purely coincidental thing.
So, back to the bookshelf to pick a new last name, and while I now know there’s someone by that name in the DC burbs, there doesn’t seem to be one in Atlanta. So a certain someone in McDonough, GA can rest easy, never even knowing about his fictive career as a dope dealer.