Names carry emotion. Think about the first person you met named Mary, John, Katie, Jason...the next time you met someone with the same name, you compared them to the first person you met with that name. You may even have transferred some of the emotional attachment of the first person to the second, because of the name.
I generally like men named Sam. Why? I've got a cousin with that name, and he's a great guy. I can be distrustful around women named Kate or Katie when we meet, because the first two bullies in my life were both named Katie. Guys named Rob are heavily scrutinized by my family because, in the words of my mother, "We've known too many Robs."
What does this have to do with the Undead Bar Association? It explains Maryanne's attitude about names. With three books in the series published, I can finally say that, and give examples.
Maryanne never calls Matthew Califf by his first name. She always refers to him as Califf. (See books Matriculated Death and Shadowed Demise). Why? Matt Hawthorne. Maryanne has serious emotional baggage where he's concerned, baggage so heavy, she can't bear to call anyone else Matt (see Binding Deceit).
Likewise, Maryanne refers to her boss as Mr. Drake, never Sam or Samuel (see Binding Deceit). Why? Sam, from the book Shadowed Demise, holds a special place in Maryanne's heart.
Between you and me, it's better for Maryanne to keep a line between Sam and Mr. Drake, since the two are such total opposites (plot hint).
So, what names conflicts are coming up? You could help me decide. For book 4, there will be opportunities for readers to name characters.
Stay tuned. Details tomorrow.