Questions 3 and 4 I don’t have a lot to say on, so I’ll do both in one post:
3) How do you come up with names for characters (and for places if you’re writing about fictional places)?
I don’t really have any set ‘way’ for doing this. Usually, one name, either first or last, will occur to me for a particular character, and I’ll cast about for the rest of the name so as to come up with something that sounds distinctive without calling attention to itself as The Writer Being Clever. Rarely will I go hunting for a name based on its ‘meaning’ as described in various baby name books and websites, though often once I have a name I’ll take a peek at said ‘meaning,’ just to satisfy my curiosity.
4) Tell us about one of your first stories/characters!
Twilight Zone-ey, and someone, possibly a ghost, got impaled on a bunch of spears at some point. I remember it as having stood out from the other stories being written by my classmates–slice of life High School stuff, near as I can recall–but no more than that.