The Final What’s in a (Character) Name #Guestpost with Christopher Wilson @mojo_books + #BookReview #IARTG

Hi Everyone!

Did I mention that multi-award-winning author Christopher Wilson is my second cousin? You can read all about how I found out about my dad’s side of the family in last week’s blog HERE

Finding out that I have a cousin who is an established author has been a valuable inspiration to me. It is a bonus that I think his books are awesome!

This will be the final in my ‘What’s in a (Character) Name guest posts and I am absolutely honoured to welcome Christopher Wilson

Christopher P. Wilson

I’ve been involved in naming two children, a few cats and dogs, a wife who needed a stage-name for Equity, and a rude horde of fictional characters. It’s always tortuous, with frequent revisions, and a terminal sense of failure. But there’s reassurance too in the problems other writers meet – even some greats.

Some splash the fluorescent paint in primary colours. Some are just plain explicit. With ‘Little Miss Naughty’ or ‘Mister Tickle’you know you’ll get what you pay for.  Holly did Golightly. And Miss de vil was indeed Cruella. And in Ian Fleming’s mind, Pussy was Galore. Dostoyevsky could be pretty upfront too, with characters that translate from the Russian as Bone-crusher or Mister Marmalade. And (surprise, surprise) in ‘Catch 22’, Major MajorMajor getspromoted to become Major MajorMajorMajor

            Dickens was shameless too, offering usSerjeantBuzfuz, Charity Pecksniff, Mr m’Choakumchild, Uncle Pumblechook, Uriah Heep,DecimusTite Barnacle, Master Bates and Dick Swiveller (who ‘ejaculated with difficulty’ in chapter 7).

Sometimes, innocuous names can gain an added twist as Time plays unkind tricks. I’m thinking ofJane Austen’s Fanny Price (that wasn’t intended, surely?), or  Panty in E. Nesbitt, and Titty in Swallows and Amazons.

            For Graham Greene character names became painfully problematic. As soon as he published a new novel people with the same surnames would form an orderly queue to sue him. So he started calling his characters Smith, Jones and Brown.

There’s a dryer game authors play with readers – of being suggestive with characters’ names without being blindingly obvious. I remember feeling wryly suckered when I’d failed to spot at the outset that Louis Cyphre in ‘Angel Heart’ would turn out to be Lucifer.

            When I started writing, I then tried it for myself.  Gallimauf was a French speaking philosopher. Count Baa Mindeberg was a bleating  Scandinavianaristocrat and  total stranger to his psyche. Duckworth was an undervalued Amazonian foundling. Saint Odo of Here and There had two bodies that went their own ways. Gob was the first human-beingever to speak. FrankEnstein Ph.D. created a monster. Yuri Zipit couldn’t keep his mouth shut. Joey Blueglass saw the world through a perpetual erotic filter. Liselotte Berg probably lied a lot.Leifur Nils Kristjansson Saint Marie du Cotton was the biggest challenge because, through the course of the novel, s/he had to die and be reborn, change skin colour,  gender, and  sexual orientation, before growing wings to turn into an angel. So maybe I missed a trick with her/him/them.

            I’ve got a new novel on the go. The central character is half human and half something else. I haven’t quite got the name yet. It’s something like Hugh Mobo.

 

Wow! Thank you, Christopher, that post is awesome. he ‘wrote it in a rush’! Genius!

I have read seven of Christopher’s books so far and it is difficult to choose a favourite. I know that his latest WIP is titled ‘Hurdy Gurdy’. His most recent publication is The Zoo  . The setting is Stalin’s last days and is a brilliantly cutting satire told through the voice of one incredible boy. 

The Zoo by [Christopher Wilson]

It won prizes: An Observer and Spectator Book of the Year
Shortlisted for the Historical Writing Association Gold Crown Award

The Blurb:

Meet Yuri Zipit.

A boy who’s had a bang on the head in a collision with a Moscow milk truck.

He has a kind face, makes friends easily, and likes to help. People want to tell him their secrets.

Including the Great Leader himself, who takes a shine to Yuri when he employs him for his natural talents.

In his new job, Yuri will witness it all – betrayals, body doubles, buffoonery. Who knew that a man could be in five places at once? That someone could break your nose as a sign of friendship? That people could be disinvented . . .?

The Zoo is a brilliantly cutting satire told through the voice of one incredible boy.

What I thought:

*****

Shhhh

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 1 August 2017

A great read, I was really drawn in by the believable characters. I have read a tiny bit of Russian history during my degree, and I enjoyed this satirical take.
Well, I didn’t say much when I read it in 2017, I must have been in a rush, three years on, I do remember this book. There is nothing like a memorable book. I enjoyed how it was told by the boy, whose father sort of gets kidnapped. Yuri does get to meet (and chat to Stalin) but he never quite knows who is who because of the Stalin body doubles. Christopher’s dry sense of humour comes through in his writing a cutting social satire.
The Ballad of Lee Cotton Kindle Edition
The Ballad of Lee Cotton  is one of my favourites, a Bildungsroman first-person narrative from Lee’s birth, his formative years and his (several) transformations.
The blurb:
Review –

Written with all the imaginative gusto of a heavy-weight novelist (FT MAGAZINE)

Exuberant (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

Wildly entertaining (DAILY MAIL)

An exuberant, joyful ride. Outrageously funny, it combines high farce with biting satire (INDEPENDENT)

Book Description –

A brilliant, funny novel about survival and identity in the tradition of Jeff Eugenides’ MIDDLESEX.

“[Wilson’s ] sense of humor and snappy pacing make this an appealing tale of a bygone America where truly anything can happen.” —People
* A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
“If you re looking for a breathless ride of a novel, one that s filled with more plot twists than most authors could even dream of, let alone include in one 320-page book, don t miss Cotton . . . Irresistible.” –Nancy Pearl, author of Book Lust
Meet the unforgettable Leifur Kristjansson Saint Marie du Cotton (you can call him Lee). Lee is a black boy born white-skinned in segregated Eureka, Mississippi, in 1950. As if that weren t trouble enough, he s also inherited the ability to hear les voix spirits from his Mambo grandmother. By the age of twenty he has fallen in love with a Klansman s daughter, been kicked senseless and left for dead on a northbound freight train, and gotten drafted into a psy-ops corps in Nevada. Before he returns to Mississippi, he will experience up close and personal the women s liberation movement and the dawn of the Lesbian Nation.
Lee Cotton s voice equal parts Delta Blues and Motown takes us on an exhilarating freedom ride through the upheavals of three decades, and whispers its secret: The freaks and oddities of this world may well be divine.”Huck Finn meets Myra Breckinridge? Candide meets Yossarian? . . . [Cotton] is, paradoxically, a complete original.” —The Washington Post Book World

“Brilliant, scathing and hilarious . . . Cotton is an odd, inventive, entertaining and whip-smart novel–a rare combination in fiction. Enjoy it.”–The Denver Post

 

Shortlisted for the Whitbread prize.

What I thought:

Shhhh

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 August 2018

Verified Purchase

 

The most recent book I read by Christopher Wilson is Nookie which is about the 1960s Profumo affair.

Nookie: A novel of the Christine Keeler Affair by [Christopher Wilson]

Those Christine Keeler photographs are famous, but it wasn’t until I read this book that I was aware of just how young she was when the scandal happened. Written with Christopher Wilson’s wit, this is not non-fiction, although it is based on a true story.

The Blurb:

It’s the early 1960’s. London’s set to swing. Sex has just been invented. They’re a strange set of bedfellows – Christine, a hungry, chaotic teen, with the looks of Aphrodite, fleeing the tedium of suburban Staines; Percy, who runs a Soho Burlesque Club by the rules of a girl’s boarding school; Bill, Lord Astor, whose wives don’t understand him (though his dominatrix does); the slum landlord, and concentration camp survivor, Peter Rachman; Mandy, the feisty, giggler from Birmingham who’s skilled at pleasing rich, old men; Stephen, friend of stars and royalty, a charming osteopath, and modern Pygmalion, who picks up waifs and strays at the kerbside and nurtures them into models, actresses, celebrities and trophy-wives; the Kray twins, East End mobsters; Yvgeny, charmer and diplomat-cum-spy at the Soviet Embassy; John Lewis the defrocked Labour MP who plays games with prostitutes and guns; Mariella, sexual athlete and amateur social-worker, who organises West End orgies for the great and the good; President Jack Fitzgerald Kennedy and his brother Bobby who can’t always remember who they’ve met in bed; J Edgar Hoover, curator of sordid secrets; the passionate Johnny, jewel-thief, pimp, shebeen owner, with anger-management issues and a penchant for firearms; ‘Lucky’ the jazz musician who gets in the way of his razor; Bob, the peer of the realm, with a taste for rent-boys; Francis the Fleet Street crime reporter who can sniff a sexual act half a mile away; Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister, whose wayward wife, Dorothy, causes him concerns; Jack Profumo, rising star of the Conservative Party, husband of film actress Valerie Hobson, and Minister for War; Stanley the freelance assassin without a pension-plan; Sam the flexible policeman, who becomes unaccountably rich in the course of his investigations; Keith, the well-meaning, vegetarian, civil servant, who does his best for MI5; Colin the dentist from Cockfosters, who’s indulging his wife Charmian, while simply looking on: Alfred, Lord Denning, whose report on the shenanigans shamelessly exonerates anyone official, prominent, powerful or aristocratic. And from the mix of this cast you get enacted that Great Sex Kerfuffle of 1963, the Profumo Scandal – perhaps better styled the Stephen Ward Affair.

This novel of the scandal gives voice to all the major characters, and affords them the time and space to explain themselves. The account sets out to do justice to Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies, spirited teenagers, who became the targets of a raucous, national hypocrisy and took the blame for the misbehaviors of the rich and powerful men who bedded them. The novel also sets out to redeem the admirable Stephen Ward – sensualist, artist, free-spirit, and convivial character – who, in the course of the scandal, lost everything that mattered to him – his friends, his reputation, and finally his life.

Christopher Wilson is the author of eight previous novels and has been shortlisted twice for the Whitbread Fiction Prize.

What I thought:

Shhhh

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 March 2020

Verified Purchase

 

Well, I have spotlighted three of Christopher Wilson’s books, I don’t want to go on too long. Apparently, long posts put people off…

Oh! But I forgot to mention Blueglass which was long-listed for the Booker Prize, in the 1990s.

Blueglass by [Chris Wilson]
There’s no doubt about it. Joey Blueglass is a talented man. How many people can sing any song after hearing it once, read a newspaper then repeat its contents word for word backwards, or recall their life in the womb? Joey can and makes it pay by performing as a Memory Man in the smoky music halls of Victorian London, until it turns out there are some key events that Joey has forgotten…

What I thought:

Shhhh

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 November 2016

Verified Purchase

Well, I hope you have enjoyed the final ‘What’s in a (Character) Name’ guest post. I have. Please have a look at the rest of Christopher Wilson’s books HERE on his website mojo-books.com (click on the word HERE for the direct link). And/or buy read and review them Books available from Christopher Wilson’s Amazon page. And just to make sure, here is the link for Christopher Wilson’s Goodreads page

 

Who knows where my ‘writerly rambling’ posts will take me next. I do need a bit of time now to write book number five of my series. For the time being, I will continue to report on the goings on in Curmudgeon Avenue.

Happy reading, and stay safe everyone! Samantha xx

A Thank You and a Special Announcement For my Final What’s in a (Character) Name Guest Post Slot

Hello there,

During the previous module of my Creative Writing degree, I learnt about the importance of naming your characters. Naming all of your characters avoids confusion for your reader. You wouldn’t want to read a book that had too many ‘he’s’ in, would you.?

This degree is part-time and has a while to go yet. This year I learnt the opposite of the above naming advice because this year’s module was about fairy tales. With lots of stock characters the sister, the carpenter and the step-mother.

With all these theories floating about, last year I had an idea to ask some of my fellow indie authors what’s in a character name? I would like to thank you all today, and after I have posted some pictures of my guest posters I have a really special announcement about next week’s final ‘What’s in a (Character) Name’ guest post.

36290599._SY475_lizzie-lamb-new-email-signature-300px

IMG_20180304_163510_237

TO CATCH A WITCH_FRONT_RGB_150dpi

51wKrNmupRL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_One By One by [Hosby, Yawatta]1561630467184c1e82edfdd2145ac67b171da1b202

91g3HS7c2pL._AC_UY218_ML3_9780993073700Jessica Redland - The Secret To Happiness

The Hive: A dark, spine-chilling thriller to keep you turning pages Kindle Edition

 

Wow! That was a lot of books and a lot of words! Thank you once again for joining me on my writerly rambling posts. I have been honoured to include my indie author colleagues.

Now for my special announcement. 

I don’t know any of my dad’s family but I grew up knowing of them. Dad had a cousin who used to write books, her pen name was Jane Hope and her most famous book was called ‘Don’t Do It! : a Complete Guide To Teaching’.

When I had to give up nursing for health reasons, I started writing. I asked Dad about my childhood memory of his cousin, the famous author. Imagine my surprise when he told me that ‘She wasn’t famous‘ (!) Well, to dampen my disappointment, my dad gave me a book written by another cousin but this was not a book for public consumption; it was a family book that his cousin had written after researching the family history.

Dad let me borrow the book and I was astonished to find out that I have a cousin who ACTUALLY IS A FAMOUS AUTHOR.  ‘I knew it!’ I said to myself, creative genes are coursing through my veins!  My (second) cousin is Booker prize shortlisted author Christopher Wilson I read all of his books straight away. They are awesome. I think my favourite is The Ballad of Lee Cotton No! Wait! My favourite book by Christopher Wilson is Blueglass…. no, no it’s Zoo

Ah they are all brilliant, I can’t wait until next Wednesday when I share with you my very last guest post about character names written by Christopher Wilson  (did I mention he’s my cousin?) Christopher’s post is awesome – please join me!

Happy reading, thanks again to the guest posters and stay safe, Samantha xx

What’s in a (Character) Name? Sharon Booth @Sharon_Booth1 #Guestpost #Uplifting Women’s Fiction #IARTG

Sharon Booth tells Samantha Henthorn how she chooses her character names.

Way back when I started reaching out and networking as an independent author, I saw a post on a reputable social media group asking if any authors wanted to appear on a blog called ‘Five Photos’. Before responding, I thought wow, this author writes uplifting women’s fiction. That sounds right up my street!

This author was none other than super talented SHARON BOOTH I have read every single one of her books – the first one being Kearton Bay my husband came home from work and saw me reading in the garden. ‘Why are you crying?’ he said. ‘Because this book is so touching… and SO cute!’ 

Thank you so much Sharon for joining me!

Sharon Booth

What’s in a Character Name?

Names are very important to me. I can’t just pick a character’s name out of thin air; I have to search for just the right one. First of all, it has to suit the character, obviously, but it also has to mean something to me or to the story.

With the first series of books I wrote it was easy. I’d spent a few years researching my family tree and I wanted to pay tribute to those people I’d been learning about, and who’d come to mean so much to me. The surnames of most of the characters in Kearton Bay are the surnames of my ancestors: Hollingsworth, Bone, Boden and Kean (hyphenated as one name for the story), MacLean, Crook, Hope … even Kearton Bay itself was named after my paternal grandmother, whose maiden name was Kearton. Rhiannon, who has Wiccan beliefs, is named after a Celtic goddess. In mythology, her son was Pryderi, so I named her son in the book Derry. Rose’s name was a given. She’s crazy about the colour pink, so she and her daughters all had to have pink names. Her daughters are called Fuchsia and Cerise. Gabriel Bailey, on the other hand, got his first name because I needed an angel’s name for the story to work. His surname was inspired by my favourite film, It’s a Wonderful Life. George Bailey is a real hero to me, and I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather name my own hero after.

With the Skimmerdale books, it was the place names that took some working out. I wanted to be as authentic as possible, and spent ages looking at old Norse words, as so many places in the Yorkshire Dales have old Norse names. Skimmerdale itself is explained in This Other Eden. “Skimmer” was an old Norse word meaning “to shine brightly, to sparkle”. I had the image in my mind of sunlight glinting on the river as a Viking chief looked down upon it, inspiring him to give the area that name. The farm’s name, Fleetsthorpe, is derived from Fleets, meaning “stream or beck”, and Thorpe, meaning “the outlying farmstead”.

Bramblewick was a tribute to the novels of Leo Walmsley, who called his fictional version of Robin Hood’s Bay by that name. I borrowed it for a brief mention in A Kiss from a Rose, little realising that I would be revisiting the village and naming an entire series of books after it!

Fresh Starts at Folly Farm (Bramblewick Book 3) Kindle Edition

With my Moorland Heroes series, Saving Mr Scrooge made every use of the Charles Dickens’ classic on which it was loosely based. Jacob Marley became Marley Jacobs, and instead of Ebenezer Scrooge (which wouldn’t have sat well with modern readers) I named the hero Christopher Carroll, as Chris Carroll was the closest I could get to the original title. He was nicknamed Kit to be a bit more up-to-date – and because I was going through a Game of Thrones period at the time!

With Resisting Mr Rochester, the surname of the hero was fixed in stone, but I had fun playing around with the other important names. His first name became Ethan, which means strong and safe. Cara Truelove was inspired by two things: Cara means dear one, beloved (aw!) and seemed appropriate. Most people assume Truelove was just to emphasise how romantic she was, but in fact, it’s taken from an old legend connected with the surname Eyre. It tells how a companion of William the Conqueror, named Truelove, saved the life of the king, and was renamed Eyre in gratitude for giving William the air that he breathed. There’s no real historical evidence for this but it’s a lovely legend, and as I was looking for a connection to Jane Eyre I thought it was perfect. You can read more about it here. Although the book is obviously a tribute to the Charlotte Bronte novel, it was also inspired by Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Cara does share some characteristics with Catherine Morland in that novel, so I named Ethan Rochester’s home Moreland Hall in tribute.

For my current series, The Witches of Castle Clair, I did a lot of research into names with magical or mythical connections. The river was an important part of the town and its mythology, and the word Hrafn is old Norse for raven, so very appropriate for my stories. I found lots of names connected with the sky in some way for my St Clair family: Sirius, Star, Celeste, Sky, Iliana (ray of light), Raiden (god of thunder and lightning), Zephyr (west wind) and Aurora all have celestial meanings.

 

It does take time to research names, but I always feel more comfortable when I know I’ve chosen appropriate ones that fit the characters. I like to have them all in place before I start writing the book. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through and realising I don’t like the name, or it doesn’t fit, and having to change it. It’s worth making the effort right at the beginning. After all, these people are going to be my best friends for several months. The least I can do is get their names right!

Sharon Booth

 

 

Author Bio

Sharon Booth is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and an Authorpreneur member of The Alliance of Independent Authors. She writes uplifting women’s fiction – “love, laughter, and happy ever after”. Although a happy ending for her main characters is guaranteed, she makes them work for it!

Sharon grew up in the East Yorkshire town of Hessle, and now lives in Kingston-upon-Hull with her husband and their gentle, and thoroughly gorgeous, German Shepherd dog.

Since giving up her admin job at a medical practice, she spends a lot of time assuring her family of five children, assorted in-laws and hordes of grandchildren – not to mention a sceptical mother and a contrary hairdresser – that writing full-time is a proper job and she hasn’t taken early retirement.

She has a love/hate relationship with sugar (she loves it, it hates her), adores Doctor Who and Cary Grant movies, and admits to being shamefully prone to all-consuming crushes on fictional heroes.

Find out more about Sharon at linktr.ee/sharonboothwriter

 

Sharon’s latest novel, To Catch a Witch, is the third in the romcom series The Witches of Castle Clair. It will be published on April 28th and is available for pre-order here.

TO CATCH A WITCH_FRONT_RGB_150dpi

 

To Catch a Witch

Return to Castle Clair for the final chapter of the St Clair story.
It’s three hundred and fifty years since the famous witch’s leap happened in the North Yorkshire town. Riverside Walk is swarming with eager tourists, wanting to pay tribute to the legendary Blaise St Clair. It’s also Christmas Eve, and the family has gathered to celebrate an eventful year, and to look forward to even better times ahead.
But a shock event changes everything, bringing a whole lot of trouble to the door of Castle Lodge.
For something big is happening in Castle Clair. Strangers are arriving, a prophecy is unfolding, a mystery is deepening, a reckoning is coming … and someone’s getting rather too fond of Mrs Greenwood’s baking.
The past is colliding with the present, and the future is in jeopardy. No wonder the High Council of Witches is a bit miffed.
Will the St Clairs have enough strength, courage ~ and chocolate fudge cake ~ to see them through?

Or is this the end of the world as they know it?

Thank you so much Sharon! I cannot wait for To Catch A Witch to be published!

Join me next time, happy reading, Samantha xx

 

What’s in a (Character) Name? Raintown by Andy Donaldson @AndyRainTown #GuestPost #IARTG

Thank you for joining me today on my fortnightly writerly rambling post. Last year, I was lucky enough to take part in the #DecTheShelves challenge on Twitter (organised by advanced league blogger and writer Deborah J Miles at Against The Flow Press https://againsttheflowpress.blogspot.com/ Raintown by Andy Donaldson was one of the featured books, written for age 9-14 I gifted three copies to some of my friends’ children.

Image result for Ramsbottom

Set in a rainy town just like Ramsbottom up the road from me in Brandlesholme (near Bury) Andy Donaldson came up with a name for a fictional rainy town – Shigbeth 

Image result for shigbeth

Thanks, Andy for your guest post:

What’s in a (character) name?

As ‘Rain Town’ is a book for children aimed at Middle Grade to Young adults, the names of the characters need to ‘work.’ By that I mean, they needed to be simple, relatable and fit the genre which in this story is comic, ordinary and in some ways slightly nostalgic. The story is set in an average, North of England type, rainy, brick terrace small town and so the names of the characters needed to match. Sidney and Stanley, Billy and Bobby Bathurst, Charlie and Chloe et al were chosen because they just seemed to naturally fit this premise. There wasn’t much thought that went into it. The names matched the personalities and the imagined environment. Good guys like Stanley Rain and Charlie Green have warm, short names perhaps with nods to the occupants of childhood comics from the Eighties like ‘Roy of the Rovers’ and ‘Whizzer & Chips.’ Nigel Greenstock became the villain because to me the name seems to match the sort of character who is a bit slimy and ‘up to no good.’ It works well for a certain Mr Farage so why not here in the town of Shigbeth?

At the heart of the book is Sidney Rain, part time Dad, delivery driver and superhero crime fighter inthe form of his alter-ego ‘The Raven.’ ‘Sid’ just seemed to work with the character perfectly. Slightly dim, down to earth, a touch industrial and rugged with a hint of the hapless and comic. Underneath this ordinary exterior is a heart of gold; a man who just wants to do his best by his son and his few friends. However, there is also a bit of a subconscious reason for giving him the name Sidney. My Grandad was Sidney Charles Cousins and although I didn’t have him expressly in mind when I started out on the book, there are elements of him that have emerged in the character Sidney Rain. The real life Sid was also at first glance a pretty normal and unremarkable man. He was someone who was very definitely grounded with very few ‘airs and graces.’ He fixed planes during the war and eventually at airports once the post war period developed. Highly skilled but manual labour,a bit old-fashioned, uneducated at least academically and not exactly politically correct. I still remember him standing at the top of the stairs outside the bathroom first thing in the morning in his string vest and pyjama bottoms, mug of tea in hand, smelling of ‘brylcream’, shaving foam and ‘Old Spice’ aftershave. Underneath all that was a man who had spent his life just wanting to do his best by his friends, family and his grandchildren. Like the Sidney in the story, a man who didn’t need a cape, a mask and boots to be a hero.

No longer with us, I would like to think that somewhere Grandad Sidney is in his favourite chair, reading about the adventures of Sidney Rain, chuckling along, with a massive mug of tea on the go.

Andy DonaldsonAnd Donaldson Author

Teacher by day, Writer by night.

Author of ‘Rain Town’. The next one in the series has just been finished too…

You can find me on Twitter @AndyRainTown.

Andy Donaldson’s Amazon page

Buy a paperback copy of Raintown here
‘Is there anyone there?’ he tentatively enquired at the shadows. There was no response. Must have been a cat he thought. His pulse calmed and he wiped the sweat from his brow. The young thief turned away from the alley and the road and once more urged his feet to move on. ‘What are you doing little boy?’ commanded a booming voice from the alleyway.

Sidney Rain is an ordinary man with an ordinary job in an ordinary town. Except for the fact that sometimes at night he dresses up as a superhero and heads out living his fantasy. But he’s putting on weight, about to lose his job and he’s generally not feeling particularly super at all.

Stanley Rain is Sidney’s 12 year old son. He’s an ordinary boy with ordinary friends at an ordinary school. But that school is being taken over by a local entrepreneur and is changing for the worst. And Stanley is not going to let that happen without a fight.

When a mysterious theft takes place, Stanley and his friends will need to turn detective to help save their school. And after being fired at work by his new boss, Sidney will need his friends to help save his soul.

 

Thank you so much Andy for writing a fab book I was able to gift to my fab friend’s boys from Ramsbottom.

Join me next time when Sharon Booth tells us about her character names – it’s gonna be awesome!

Happy reading, Samantha xx

 

What’s in a (Character) Name? #Guestpost Yawatta Hosby @yawatta_hosby #IARTG

February is Women in Horror Month I wouldn’t have even known this if it wasn’t for my spooky author friend YAWATTA HOSBY (Yawatta writes horror novels, I don’t mean she’s actually spooky as a person, you understand.) I read one of Yawatta’s books recently One By One look it up! My review is in there somewhere. Also, I read Six Plus One at the weekend – also awesomely gruesome.

One By One by [Hosby, Yawatta]

Anyway, let’s find out what Yawatta Hosby thinks about names…

Thanks for letting me be a guest on your blog, Samantha!

 

What’s in a name?

 

My full name is Yawatta Finia Hosby. I bet substitute teachers had a field day, trying to pronounce it during roll call 🙂 I was named after my mom’s favorite cousin, which her mother combined two words she saw in the delivery room. I still wonder what those words were…

 

Yawatta has a Japanese root; Finia is Native American; Hosby is Irish. I’m intrigued that my dad’s grandfather came to America from Ireland. It blows my mind! I’ve lived in the United States all my life even though my name looks exotic.

 

Since I have a unique name, I try and give my characters cool names as well. I think it’s fun to Google search different surnames. Sometimes if I find a cool last name then I’ll make that my character’s first name. For example, I love using the name Franco. I’ve used that name in my short stories and upcoming comic.

 

I also love giving my female characters masculine names. In One By One, my main character was Rae. In Something’s Amiss, my main character was Poe. With my comic I’ve been working on, my main female character’s name is Felix. I think it’s fun to give characters a regular name but spell it differently. Like with Rae (pronounced Rae); plus, Perfect Little Murder had Loren (pronounced Lauren).

 

Another fun game is to collect celebrity names. When I use a certain name, my character doesn’t represent that celebrity’s personality, I just like the name. For example, in One By One, Kenan was named after the Kenan and Kel duo. Selma after Selma Hayek; Tobey after Tobey Maguire. You get the drift.

 

Sometimes I’ll also think of my characters’ ethnicities, then I’ll Google popular names. I’ll scroll for hours looking for very unique names then I’ll use those names in my stories. The funny thing is I’ll spend so much time on last names but I don’t share them in the story. Still don’t know why I do that lol. I guess because if the characters are close, in my mind, then they wouldn’t be official when introducing them to readers. They would call the other characters by their first name in the story narration, not by a full name.

 

Keep smiling,

 

Yawatta Hosby

 

Thank you so much Yawatta! So interesting, wow what intriguing family history and a lovely middle name. I do love to read horror every now and then, reminds me of being a teenager and paging through Salem’s Lot in a sulk on a family holiday… ah! What a joy I must have been as a teenager. I’m sure I’m not alone – please make sure you give Yawatta’s BLOG a visit at http://yawattahosby.wordpress.com/ to catch all her books or visit her Amazon PAGE I just did – and there are a few bargains on there – stock up your Kindle (or other reading devices)

 

61dTIZ10fUL._US230_Six Plus One Kindle EditionOne By One Kindle EditionPlenty of Fish Kindle EditionTwisted Obsession: A Suspense Novella Kindle EditionSomething's Amiss Kindle EditionPerfect Little Murder Kindle Edition

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7101735.Yawatta_Hosby

Twitter @yawatta_hosby

Author Yawatta Hosby @YawattaHosby Facebook

Yay! Thanks again, Yawatta and join me in two weeks to find out about Sue Wickstead and her Jay Jay Bus!

Happy reading, Samantha xx

 

 

 

#GuestPost Lizzie Lamb @lizzie_lamb What’s in a (Location)? #BurnsNight special. #IARTG

Thank you for joining me on Burns Night 2020 for a very special guest post from one of my favourite uplifting romance novelists LIZZIE LAMB

Location. Location. Location.

genius loci, the spirit of the place

Many thanks to Samantha for hosting me on her blog and giving me an opportunity to share my novels with you. Readers have told me that they love my descriptions of Scotland, Norfolk and Wisconsin. And, I must admit, a location is often the starting place for my novels and then the characters appear in my head, crowding in and demanding that I write down their story. I hope these examples make you want to read more. I’m going to kick off with the Scottish novels – but make sure you read Boot Camp Bride because Sam won a paperback copy in the prize draw for Deborah Miles’s #DecTheShelves promo on Twitter last month.

A heads up – each hyperlink takes you to the relevant Amazon page where you can – read a FREE extract in kindle/share/buy

LIZZIE LAMB NEW EMAIL SIGNATURE 300px

Girl in the Castle – journey across the loch and fall in love

Henri gazed out across the loch, shrouded in a shifting veil of low-lying mist. The castle appeared to float above it and the world beyond seemed unreal, until she spotted Lachlan piloting his boat towards Tèarmannair. His head and shoulders visible above the swirling fog. A heron skimmed over the shifting mist, its spindly limbs trailing behind it as it hunted for breakfast.

At night, it was easy to imagine the castle was a ship sailing untroubled across a wide ocean, the only light visible the beacon on the jetty at the far side of the loch.

Trees on the margin of the loch were reflected as a perfect mirror image of themselves, in ochre, vermillion and acid yellow. Pushing her reading glasses on top of her head, Henri focused on the middle distance where two small islands, topped by scrubby vegetation and gnarled trees bent over by the prevailing wind, gave perspective to the view. Beyond that, round, green hills rose towards the sky, and beyond them were craggy mountains with snow on the peaks.

Castle Stalker

Screenshot 2019-02-02 18.37.13

Scotch on the Rocks – travel to a Scottish island for fun, capers and romance

The Narrows were calm, reflecting the harbour cottages of Jamestoun on their glassy surface and making the fishing port seem twice as big as in reality. Issy loved the red tiled roofs, the whitewashed walls and the three-storey granite building which had formerly housed the local Customs and Excise. She could picture the old railway lines which dissected the cobbled road. Back in the day, when Jamestoun had been a thriving fishing port, langoustines were landed first thing in the morning, packed onto ice and sent down to London, via Oban, to grace the dinner plates in swanky hotels. Now the harbour was mostly filled with private yachts and the occasional fishing boat which took tourists out to the bird colonies in high summer. The brown hills beyond the harbour could look bleak in the winter, but today the sun warmed them, picking out the old fort (now almost covered in vegetation), built after the ’45 Rebellion to quell the unruly Scots.

The road swung inland where, in Victorian times, it had been blasted through a small mountain. ‘The Faerie Falls,’ Issy said, nodding towards it with her head towards a torrent of brown, peaty water cascading over rocks. ‘They say that the wee folk live behind its waters, but I’ve never seen them.’

Scotch on the Rocks

Tall, Dark and Kilted – Notting Hill Meets Monarch of the Glen

The music hit Fliss as she rounded the corner of Elgin Crescent, Notting Hill. The sugared almond pink and yellow houses almost vibrating in the late May evening as I Predict a Riot blasted out from an open window half way down the street.

From their vantage point, the mountains were hidden by trees and Fliss could see soft, rounded hills which swept all the way down to a large loch. The colours were dazzling; the green of the hills and trees, the blue sky reflected in the deeper blue of the loch and the ochre of the sandy beach which gave way to paler sand near a pebble path. The shoreline dipped in and out of the expanse of water and in the distance, at vanishing point, the opposing shores appeared to link hands, cutting the loch off from the sea.

And, way below them, nestled in the trees with a wide lawn leading down to the waters’ edge where it became a beach, sat TighnaLocha. Solid, ancient, a slice of Scottish history complete with white painted turrets and stepped gables, and with a look of permanency that said: ‘I’ve been here for a thousand years. Wha’ dares challenge me?’

TDKScreenshot 2019-02-02 18.37.13

Boot Camp Bride – a hilarious laugh out loud marriage of convenience romance

Charlee glanced over the low hedges and dun-coloured fields stretching towards the salt marshes where the sea was a black line on the horizon. There was a stripped back beauty to the place and the flocks of birds heading for the feeding grounds down by the shoreline ensured the view was an ever-changing tapestry. Perhaps, here on the salt marsh, where the wind sighed through the reeds and stirred the dried pods of the alexanders, they could be honest with one another. Confront those feelings which had been simmering beneath the surface since the book launch. Playing his pretend fiancée wasn’t easy; the pretence was beginning to feel more real than the life Charlee had left behind

Camper Van BCB

Norfolk - thornham (2)

Screenshot 2019-02-02 18.37.13

Take Me, I’m Yours – a small town romance full of love and passion

Closing the door behind her, India sank down on the padded window seat and, drawing her knees up, pulled a cushion towards her, hugging it for comfort. Resting her head back against the heavy shutters she looked out into a vermilion and gold sunset where islands and peninsulas jutted out into the bay. However, the beauty of the scene was lost. All she could think of was how different the sunset must look from MacFarlane’s beach hut, thousands of miles away. Cool air blew off the lake and through the open window, stirring the muslin draping her cast iron four poster bed. Getting up to wipe her eyes on the corner of her pashmina, she caught sight of herself in the cheval mirror. Backlit by the sunset, with filmy drapes billowing around her, she seemed as unsubstantial as a ghost. A mere shadow of her former self. Dark circles under her eyes, skin without its youthful luminescence, violet eyes huge in her pale face. How had this come to pass?

Wisconsin

 

I hope you have enjoyed these extracts and the photos which accompany them. If you’d like to learn more about me and my novels, do get in touch via the links at the end of this post.

Author bio with links –

After teaching her 1000th pupil and working as a deputy head teacher in a large primary school, Lizzie decided to pursue her first love: writing. She joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted (2012), quickly followed by Boot Camp Bride. She went on to publish Scotch on the Rocks, which achieved Best Seller status within two weeks of appearing on Amazon and her next novel, Girl in the Castle, reached #3 in the Amazon charts. Lizzie is a founder member of indie publishing group – New Romantics Press, and has co-hosted author events at Aspinall, St Pancras and Waterstones, Kensington, talking about the research which underpins her novels. Lizzie latest romance Take Me, I’m Yours is set in Wisconsin, a part of the USA which she adores. This novel also achieved BEST SELLER status >travel>USA. She has further Scottish-themed romances planned and spends most of the summer touring the Scottish Highlands researching men in kilts. What’s not to like? As for the years she spent as a teacher, they haven’t quite gone to waste. She is building a reputation as a go-to speaker on indie publishing, and how to plan, write, and publish a debut novel. She is currently working on #6 – a road trip ‘movie’ where two warring guardians are forced to join forces and set off in hot pursuit after two runaway teenagers.  Lizzie lives in Leicestershire (UK) with her husband, David.

She loves to hear from readers, so do get in touch . . .

Lizzie’s Links

https://www.amazon.com/author/lizzielamb

www.facebook.com/LizzieLambwriter

lizzielambwriter@gmail.com

website: www.lizzielamb.co.uk

https://twitter.com/lizzie_lamb

Newsletter – http://tinyurl.com/ELNL-2016

Linked in: uk.linkedin.com/pub/lizzie-lamb/18/194/202/

Goodreads http://tinyurl.com/cbla48d

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lizzielamb/

LIZZIE LAMB NEW EMAIL SIGNATURE 300pxIMG_7639(Edited)Thank you so much Lizzie for appearing on my little blog. I am looking forward to reading your next book.

Join me in two weeks when Yawatta Hosby will be telling us how she chooses names for her horror novels.

Happy reading, Samantha xx

#GuestPost Preview! Make sure you read this blog on Saturday (BURNS NIGHT) for a special treat from @lizzie_lamb #IARTG

Hi Everyone! The special treat is that best-selling uplifting romantic novelist Lizzie Lamb has agreed to guest post on my ‘What’s in a (Character) Name?’ Regular blog post. When Lizzie put her post together, the focus was on location – particularly because of the three HIGHLAND BRIDES NOVELS

Scotch on the RocksSo, before Saturday – when I expect you will be all reading Robert Burns’ poetry, wearing a kilt and eating haggis, I thought I would treat everyone to a snippet of Lizzie’s post before the big event – Burns night.

download Castle Stalker Castle Stalker (Photo from Lizzie Lamb – more of this on Saturday).

Here is a bit of Lizzie’s guest post –

Take Me, I’m Yours – a small town romance full of love and passion

Closing the door behind her, India sank down on the padded window seat and, drawing her knees up, pulled a cushion towards her, hugging it for comfort. Resting her head back against the heavy shutters she looked out into a vermilion and gold sunset where islands and peninsulas jutted out into the bay. However, the beauty of the scene was lost. All she could think of was how different the sunset must look from MacFarlane’s beach hut, thousands of miles away. Cool air blew off the lake and through the open window, stirring the muslin draping her cast iron four poster bed. Getting up to wipe her eyes on the corner of her pashmina, she caught sight of herself in the cheval mirror. Backlit by the sunset, with filmy drapes billowing around her, she seemed as unsubstantial as a ghost. A mere shadow of her former self. Dark circles under her eyes, skin without its youthful luminescence, violet eyes huge in her pale face. How had this come to pass?

Boot Camp Bridea hilarious laugh out loud marriage of convenience romance

Charlee glanced over the low hedges and dun-coloured fields stretching towards the salt marshes where the sea was a black line on the horizon. There was a stripped back beauty to the place and the flocks of birds heading for the feeding grounds down by the shoreline ensured the view was an ever-changing tapestry. Perhaps, here on the salt marsh, where the wind sighed through the reeds and stirred the dried pods of the alexanders, they could be honest with one another. Confront those feelings which had been simmering beneath the surface since the book launch. Playing his pretend fiancée wasn’t easy; the pretence was beginning to feel more real than the life Charlee had left behind.

Camper Van BCB

I have read four of Lizzie’s books. The fifth is waiting for me on my Kindle as a special treat.

 

 Lizzie Lamb’s bio with links –

After teaching her 1000th pupil and working as a deputy head teacher in a large primary school, Lizzie decided to pursue her first love: writing. She joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted (2012), quickly followed by Boot Camp Bride. She went on to publish Scotch on the Rocks, which achieved Best Seller status within two weeks of appearing on Amazon and her next novel, Girl in the Castle, reached #3 in the Amazon charts. Lizzie is a founder member of indie publishing group – New Romantics Press, and has co-hosted author events at Aspinall, St Pancras and Waterstones, Kensington, talking about the research which underpins her novels. Lizzie latest romance Take Me, I’m Yours is set in Wisconsin, a part of the USA which she adores. This novel also achieved BEST SELLER status >travel>USA. She has further Scottish-themed romances planned and spends most of the summer touring the Scottish Highlands researching men in kilts. What’s not to like? As for the years she spent as a teacher, they haven’t quite gone to waste. She is building a reputation as a go-to speaker on indie publishing, and how to plan, write, and publish a debut novel. She is currently working on #6 – a road trip ‘movie’ where two warring guardians are forced to join forces and set off in hot pursuit after two runaway teenagers.  Lizzie lives in Leicestershire (UK) with her husband, David.

She loves to hear from readers, so do get in touch . . .

Lizzie’s Links

https://www.amazon.com/author/lizzielamb

www.facebook.com/LizzieLambwriter

lizzielambwriter@gmail.com

website: www.lizzielamb.co.uk

https://twitter.com/lizzie_lamb

Newsletter – http://tinyurl.com/ELNL-2016

Linked in: uk.linkedin.com/pub/lizzie-lamb/18/194/202/

Goodreads http://tinyurl.com/cbla48d

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lizzielamb/

LIZZIE LAMB NEW EMAIL SIGNATURE 300px

Don’t forget to read Lizzie’s full guest post, especially changed to Saturday for Burns night. See you then, Samantha xx

 

What’s in a (Character) Name? #GuestPost William B. Taylor and Helen Gerrard @pegasuspublish @WilliamBTaylor5

William B. Taylor shares his character names with Samantha Henthorn

Thank you for joining me for my very first ‘writerly rambling’ post of 2020. Today I am talking about a bit of local book networking. Some of my favourite people are four friends of mine that happen to be sisters. Their dear mother was one of the nicest people I have ever met in my life. She had a friend, Helen who all four sisters would often say to me – with widened eyes ‘You’ve got to get in touch with Helen! She’s got a book out!’ Well, don’t let me tell you, here is William B. Taylor to tell us how he and Helen Gerrard came up with their character names and book…

What’s in a Character Name? Guest blog by William B. Taylor.

Being both absent minded and often quite lazy, I have never really analysed my writing process, so I’d like to start this blog by thanking Sam for offering me this opportunity to actually think about what I do and why I do it when it comes to this particular aspect of my writing process.

Author photo

 

My wife, Helen Gerrard, awoke one morning in 2018 with an idea – The Bee Polisher. By the time I dragged my lazy self out of bed and downstairs in search of a cup of tea (and a reason to have bothered to wake up that day), Helen had already written out a story on a sheet of A4, and drawn a sketch of the title character.

1561630467184c1e82edfdd2145ac67b171da1b202 Available to buy here

 

I read it with my cup of tea, and thought it was a weird and wonderful idea. Grabbing the remote control and switching off the Jeremy Kyle Show, I turned to my laptop and began to type. Little could we have known in those early days, that these innocent actions would eventually lead to us being offered a publishing contract by Pegasus Publishers for our first book, The Bee Polisher.

 

Character names:

 

Helen’s original story only contained two character names, The Bee Polisher, and Old Fred the farmer. The Queen was just “the Queen”, or “the wicked Queen”. I decided to create a realm in which these characters could live, alongside other characters that would appear in the later story. Fortunately it was a children’s fairy tale set in a fantasy kingdom, so I had the freedom to be able to invent new and unusual names that would hopefully appeal to that audience. I’ll go through the characters in the order they appear in the book.

 

King Garold is the kindly old ruler of Bumblonia at the start of the book. His name came to me quite easily. At college I had a good friend, Gary Graham, who for no particular reason other than it sounded a bit silly, I liked to call Garold. This name jumped into my head and I thought it sounded suitably regal – especially with the word “King” in front of it.

01 King Garold (1)

 

Next in line to the throne is Barold, the king’s free spirited son. When I lived in the wilderness of the north, in a bleak and remote village called Carlisle, I had a friend called Barry Cox. If my memory serves me true (it often doesn’t), Barry lived in a cottage in the woods under a bridge. For some reason the character of Barold reminded me of him. I reasoned if Gary could become Garold, then Barry could likewise become Barold. The fact the names Garold and Barold rhyme helps to create the feeling of the royal family line.

02 Barold

 

The next character to appear is Malicia, an ignorant and unlikable figure who has grown up in the city kingdom of Shmogg and knows nothing of rural life. I decided she needed a name that in some way reflected her unpleasant personality, while sounding realistic enough as a name in itself. Her character is both militant and malicious so I blended these two unpleasant words to fit.

13 Malicia

 

Lord Shmuck is Malicia’s father. He is fueled by a sense of duty, which is fueled by a desperate fear of otherwise being poor. I chose Shmuck in the hope that the connotations of the word would help the reader come to an idea of his character.

Old Fred the farmer was Helen’s original idea for the “hero” character, the protagonist from whose perspective most of the story is written. I did not change Helen’s idea because I value my marriage, and because I liked the use of alliteration between the character’s name and their job. This use of alliteration was then applied to the names of all the other Bumblonian villagers, for example Young Bill the butcher’s boy, Frankie the fishmonger and Mary the miller’s wife. This felt like a simple (or lazy) way of naming the minor characters.

10 Old Freds Market stall

Young Bill and Frankie

05 Young Bill and Frankie

The only animal to be named in the book is Old Fred’s beloved cow, Milky Joe. Helen suggested this as she is a fan of the TV series The Mighty Boosh, and Milky Joe is the name of a character that appears in one episode. One of my proof readers raised the point that Joe is a boy’s name and that is strange for a cow. I agreed, but kept the name as it was anyway.

 

The rest of the characters to appear are not named and are referred to by their job titles. These include the Archbishop, the Captain of the Guards, The Bee Polisher and the Friendly Local Bee Collection Officer.

 

Place names:

 

I’m not ashamed to admit that I struggled with the place names almost as much as I struggled to write the blurb for the back cover of the book. I have no idea why, but they just didn’t come to me easily at all. I begged a friend to write the blurb for me, which I tweaked a bit to make it sound more like me before sending to the publishers. Likewise, I turned to the charity of others for help when coming up with the place names in The Bee Polisher.

 

I am an avid reader myself, with a particular love of Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. I have been told this can bee seen in my writing style, which is a compliment indeed. On the internet there are many groups of similar-minded Pratchett fans, a couple of which I am a member of. In my desperation I turned to the other members, saying I was writing a children’s book about bees, and requesting any ideas they might have. They didn’t let me down.

 

The Kingdom of Bumblonia was a lovely name for the land in which the bee-related tale unfolds. King Garold lived in a castle called The Royal Twill (that took a couple of moments for me to realise was an anagram of my own name, Will Taylor). Old Fred lives on Hunningbie Farm near the village of Coombe.

 

The Kingdom of Shmogg was my idea, I’m pleased to say. I wanted a name that showed the contrast between the city and the clean, fresh countryside. I thought about the characteristics of cities and as soon as I thought about smog I knew I had the perfect name.

 

And that’s it. That’s how I came up with most of the names in The Bee Polisher. It was a mixture of names from my past, a bit of wordplay and help from others. I hope you have found this blog helpful, interesting, or at least fun to read.

 

I’d like to thank Sam once again for asking me to write this blog. Now I suppose I had better crack on with the next book!

 

About William B. Taylor

 

William Taylor was born long ago, near the sleepy village of Manchester, in the land of England.

He was born in the traditional manner – naked in a room full of strangers. Before long, he was educated – and very quickly learned the basics of tying both shoelaces and a tie.

He became a man and took himself a wife (he didn’t steal one, he got married). Now he likes to write down his silly thoughts and musings, occasionally wondering what happened to the boy he once was…

Links to buy The Bee Polisher by William B.Taylor and Helen Gerrard 

Amazon UK

Waterstones

WHSmith

Amazon US

Trailer ^

 

WOW! 

What a lovely story Will and Helen, the story of your book and how you created it. Great names too – and I loved your place names. Wishing you every success with your next book. I wouldn’t have had this blog post if it wasn’t for my friends that are four sisters xx

Join me on January 22nd (Just before Burns Night) when Lizzie Lamb shares her character names. (Can’t wait!)

Happy reading! Samantha xx

 

What’s in a (Character) Name? #Guestpost #Reblog @DeborahMiles7 #IARTG #Indieauthor #Readingthrillers #AgainsttheFlowPress

Got to share this again, Deborah J Miles’ book Orchard View still sends the literary shivers when I think about the character Etta Franklin’s story… I am not so secretly hoping that Deborah writes another book, but I know that a lot of her time is taken up with her fantastic blog Against the Flow Press. Deborah is a supporter of indie authors like me and has just worked super hard on the #DecTheShelves promotion that took over Twitter during the Christmas run-up.

Orchard View also made it on to my Christmas gift list this year – Father-in-Law is a big reader.

36290599._SY475_

I will shut up now and let Deborah J. Miles tell you about her character names:

I ‘accidently’ wrote my novel while I was taking an online writing course through FutureLearn. A friend and I were doing the course together, really for something to occupy us while she was recovering from surgery. During one of the exercises in the course, the whole story just came to me. I kept it in my head and typed out chapter after chapter.

Bill Maynard was my first character. The name just seemed right for the character. I needed something short and to the point as a first name, hence ‘Bill’, and somehow ‘Maynard’ followed. It occurred to me after I’d finished writing that ‘Maynard’ is a surname which appears on my family tree, and ‘Bill Maynard’ was also the name of an actor.

My second character was the house itself, Orchard View. House names often refer to their location or history, such as Sea View, Hilltop, The Old Rectory, and The Old School House. The house was so named because it once overlooked an orchard.

My next character, Etta Franklin, was created by borrowing the name of a lovely lady I knew as a child. I loved the sound of the name ‘Etta’ which I realised must have been the shortened form of Henrietta. Etta needed to have standing, so ‘Henrietta’ was a suitable name, but she also needed to be likeable, and ‘Etta’, to my mind, is a much friendlier name. I used the phone book to choose her surname. I opened it at random, and pointed to a line on the open page, which as it turned out, contained the surname ‘Franklin’.

Norma Parker is the street busybody or Nosy Parker. I thought it apt that she should be called ‘Parker’. Her first name, ‘Norma’, was the name of an acquaintance from many moons ago who had some of the attributes I wanted for my character. Her nosy ways have her labelled as the ‘Neighbourhood Witch’.

As the story developed, and I added new characters, I found that if I could imagine the character, their size, stature, traits and personality, then a name would occur to me. I suppose I am drawing on memories I have tucked away about people I have known in one capacity or another, such as from family history research, celebrities, friends etc… There was only one I changed; Maeve became Mae because I felt Maeve didn’t convey the softness I was looking for in this character. Mae seems to be a favourite with my readers too.

https://www.futurelearn.com

Deborah J Miles
Deborah Miles is married with three grown-up children and lives in Kent.

She has worked in banking, tourism, education and social services, and has hosted international students for over 30 years.

Her interests include: genealogy, self-improvement, home computing, web design, D.I.Y/gardening, pen friends and writing.

Deborah is independently published and created the imprint Against the Flow Press for her first novel, Orchard View.

Blog: http://againsttheflowpress.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter @DeborahMiles7,

blog: https://againsttheflowpress.blogspot.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/deborah_j_miles/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/

Think I put Deborah’s blog on twice… make sure you don’t miss it!

Links to buy Orchard View :

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Well, that was awesome, big thanks to Deborah J Miles for guesting on my last post of 2019. It’s been a blast!

Onwards!

See you next time, when William B. Taylor and Helen Gerrard tell us about their illustrated children’s book The Bee Polisher.

Happy New Year, reading, writing, and everything love Samantha xx

What’s in a (Character) Name? #GuestPost @janeholland1 #IARTG

Thank you for joining me for my end of the year ‘writerly rambling’ posts. Today, I am overwhelmed… My indie author buddy and advanced league blogger of Against The Flow Press had a word with today’s guest about this blog… Drum roll, please… Today, I have been joined by Jane Holland – the award-winning author and poet with six pseudonyms (what a coincidence for a character naming blog post) and her own Wikipedia page. This has never happened before. Now, over to Jane Holland while I go and read her latest book The Hive which I have been ‘saving as a special treat’ (I’m such a geek).

Jane Holland

CHOOSING NAMES IN FICTION — Jane Holland

I write across a range of genres from action thrillers to women’s fiction and romance. So, when choosing character names, I look for a name that will fit both the character and the genre. (And I even write those different genres under separate pen-names myself, with most pen-names reflecting the genre.)

 

Names, like any word, possess emotional resonance. As novelists, we ignore that at our peril. Some names suggest warmth, trust and approachability, such as Hannah, Faith, Marcus, Nathan.Others feel somewhat cooler and more stand-offish, such as Sonia, Chloe, Fabian, Leopold.Some names feel strong and bold, like Jackie, Rowena, Ryan, Tyrell, while others are more exotic or inspirational, such as Gloria and Orlando.

 

Character names project a certain impression on a book overall; sometimes, this can be essential to the proper working of the plot. Chuck and Demelza sound an unlikely couple for a romance, while Bill or Sharon would make improbable villains in an international thriller. The wrong names strike the wrong note. Of course, if you’re trying to make a point, or write in a quirky, tongue-in-cheek manner, or perhaps conceal your villain until the last possible moment, misdirecting a reader could be useful. But on the whole, readers are likely to feel confused and uncertain with a poor name choice, and nothing makes them put a book down sooner than the fear that the author in question doesn’t know their business.

 

I tend to pick whichever name springs to mind while I’m working on my synopsis prior to starting to write (I’m a planner, not a pantser). That probably sounds quite casual, but I’ve written over forty novels and dozens of novellas, and my brain automatically selects names in the right ballpark for the story.

 

If I need to strike a particular note, or avoid clashing with other characters in the book – too many names beginning with the same letter, for example, or ending the same way, like Lucy/Tracy, may confuse readers – I do an internet search. Back in the day, a book of ‘baby names’ was on every writer’s bookshelf. Today, you can search in a few seconds among thousands of names, not just arranged alphabetically, but names from a certain part of the world, or associated with particular languages, age groups, or historical eras. The perfect name is out there somewhere!

 

For my latest thriller, THE HIVE, I chose Charlotte for my heroine: it had to be quite a posh name, but traditional and not stand-offish. Her boyfriend’s name is Russian (because he is!). Saying more about other characters’ names would, sadly, give away some of the twist, so I shall have to leave it there.

 

I chose the title THE HIVE after writing the book. The provisional title was THE BEE BOX, named after an object in the book. I knew right from the earliest planning stages that bees would be an integral part of the book, and even the way the book is structured follows that theme. So the title was always going to be bee-related, and ‘hive’ also suggests the busy – or buzzing – metropolitan setting of the novel in London, a metaphor that also plays a role in the story.

The Hive: A dark, spine-chilling thriller to keep you turning pages Kindle EditionForget Her Name: A gripping thriller with a twist you won't see coming Kindle EditionLock the Door: A psychological thriller full of suspense Kindle EditionUnder An Evil Star (Stella Penhaligon Thrillers Book 1) Kindle EditionThe Tenth House Murders (Stella Penhaligon Thrillers Book 2) Kindle EditionGirl Number One: A gripping page-turner with a twist Kindle EditionAll Your Secrets: A taut psychological thriller with a NAILBITING finale Kindle EditionWriting Prompts for Thriller Writers Paperback

Above are just a few of Jane’s books, worth taking a look at her Amazon page click this pink link

I was so interested (me, Samantha Henthorn – back again) to read about how Jane chooses her character names depending on which genre she is writing in. Totally have not had that valuable information during my creative writing degree. (So far!) Jane Holland also changes her author name, depending on which genre she is writing in. Here are some book covers from her pseudonyms:

The Oddest Little Mistletoe Shop: a sparkly romcom for all year round Kindle EditionThe Oddest Little Cornish Tea Shop: A feel-good summer read! Kindle EditionThe Queen's Secret (Lucy Morgan Book 1) Kindle EditionWolf Bride (Lust in the Tudor court - Book One) (Lust in the Tudor Court 1) PaperbackThe Uncatchable Miss Faversham (Regency Romance) Kindle Edition

I could be here all day adding book covers! Jane Holland has written over forty books (that I can count). Do check out the links I have added above and do what I’m going to do, start with her most recent books:

The Hive available HERE UK and HERE US

In High Places (as JJ Holland) HERE UK  and HERE US

Twitter: Jane Holland loves #Christmas 🏳️‍🌈 (@janeholland1) | Twitter

 

Jane Holland is a Gregory Award-winning poet and bestselling novelist. Her thriller GIRL NUMBER ONE hit #1 in the UK Kindle store in 2015, and again in 2018. Her latest book is IN HIGH PLACES, an action thriller written as JJ Holland. Also just out is THE HIVE, a dark thriller. You can find her on Twitter as @janeholland1

Her first novel KISSING THE PINK (Sceptre) was based on the women’s Pro Snooker circuit, where she herself was a champion player ranked 24th in the world before being banned for life for ‘bringing the game into disrepute’. Since turning from sport to writing, she’s published dozens of novels with major publishing houses under various pseudonyms, including: Beth Good, Victoria Lamb, Elizabeth Moss, Hannah Coates, and JJ Holland.

She also writes practical writing manuals such as Writing Prompts for Thriller Writers, along with a sister book for Romance Writers, and other non-fiction books, including a new ‘Dreams Journal’ for complex dream interpretation.

Elizabeth Moss

 

Totally star-struck. Thank you so much, Jane (where’s that ‘blushing’ emoji?)

Happy reading everyone! See you tomorrow when we re-visit Deborah J Mile’s character naming post,

Samantha xx