My characters have a life of their own.
No matter how much I try, I can’t always make them do what they are supposed to. The ones that are supposed to be good turn out to be evil. The ones that are supposed to be evil turn out to be good. The ones created for an ancillary role turn out to be pivotal to the entire series.
I make a concerted effort to give a shout-out to real life friends when developing new characters. Even if a friend has nothing in common with the character, I like to use their names on occassion.
Unfortunately, a lot of my characters – let’s be generous and say 90% – meet with some pretty gruesome endings. If I know I’m going to kill a character off, I don’t want to use the name of someone I care about.
But the funny part is, on occassion you go back and re-read a particularly gruesome scene and you realized that the name you chose is similar to someone you don’t like? Coincidence? For legal purposes, let’s all agree that it’s confidential, or at the very least, subconscious.