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

 

Memorable books I have read during the last twelve months or so.

It has been a while since I’ve reviewed a book on my blog. I only read books that I like and have chosen to read myself, so I’m by no means a professional reviewer. By that I mean I am not the true definition of a reviewer (someone who appraises by providing a critique) if I only read books that I like, then I am already biased, because I know I’m going to enjoy and give a high star review – if you understand me.

That said, I do review most books I read on Amazon UK and Goodreads. As you may or may not know, I am halfway through a Creative Writing and English Literature degree. My next module involves reading lots of books that I haven’t chosen myself. What if I don’t like them? I’m even putting off looking on the list to see what I have to read…

Without further ado… here are some books that I chose to read myself, loved and reviewed they have stuck in my mind and now I’m sharing with you like all good readers should.

Peddling Doomsday by Petra Jacob. This is memorable because of the main character, Deirdre and the satire was top class.

Here’s my review:  Wow that was amazing! I’ve just finished reading this book and couldn’t put it down. We get to meet poor Deirdre who is cajoled into joining a weird cult where everyone gets a new name apart from… well I wouldn’t want to spoil that bit it’s priceless! This dystopian mayhem tells of the wrongs of modern life .. I was reading and giving the author an imaginary high five!

Peddling Doomsday by Petra Jacob

Here’s the blurb: ‘You don’t know how significant you are. We need you.’

No matter where she is, Deirdre feels out of place. So when a cult known as the Center contacts her, wanting her join up, she’s intrigued. They say a terrible war is coming, humanity is in danger and without explaining why, say she’s needed for the fight. Suddenly the chance to be spectacular is within her grasp. With the charismatic Myra as the cult leader, and talk of prophecies and psychic abilities, Deirdre is soon seduced and ditches her humdrum life to join up.

Once inside, her understanding of the world shifts. She learns the truth about the elite, a secret organisation that has meddled with humanity since the beginning of time. The elite use entertainment and the media as a constant distraction to stop people from reaching their true potential. To free themselves of this conditioning, the followers must give up ‘excessive’ food and sleep. They also carry out increasingly bizarre rituals under the critical eye of the Captain, a minor leader of the new followers. He seems to take pleasure from turning them against one another.

Tensions increase. The followers gain odd new abilities, but bullying and hysteria also grow. Meanwhile Myra’s prophecies become increasingly extreme. As paranoia intensifies, Deirdre questions where the belief ends, and delusion begins.

Peddling Doomsday by Petra Jacob is available here UK or here US

 

An Englishwoman’s Guide to The Cowboy by June Kearns. This book has stuck in my head because it was just so beautiful. I felt like my Nana would have read it had she still been with us. I noticed another blogger review this book recently and I thought OH I’ve been meaning to do a blog of memorable books…

Here’s my review:

I remember my mum telling me that my nana used to stay awake all night reading ‘Westerns’, and here I was last night reading this beautiful book, getting little sleep because I could not put it down! Goodness knows which books Nana was reading, but you hardly ever hear the term ‘Western’ as a genre anymore. I would say if anything this was an excellent adventure romance written of the time and setting. Good for Annie, escaping her matronly Aunt Bea, cousin Charlotte, and unwanted suitor, whilst collecting the affections of the moody and mysterious Colt. She managed to rescue a puppy and solve a mystery about her father too. Go, Annie! I was so pleased for the character, that’s how well this book was written

An Englishwoman's Guide to the Cowboy

Here’s the blurb: Jane Austen meets Zane Grey

The American West, after the Civil War -a wild and restless place.
Into this background, wanders a party of Englishwomen. Well-bred, bookish spinster, Annie Haddon – (product of mustn’t take off your hat, mustn’t take off your gloves, mustn’t get hot or perspire Victorian society)- together with an aunt the last word in snobbery, and a spoiled and brittle cousin.

After a stagecoach wreck, Annie is thrown into the company of Colt McCall – a man who lives by his own rules and hates the English.

Can two people, moulded by their backgrounds and pasts, overcome that conditioning? Annie and McCall find out on their journey across the haunting, mystical landscape of the West.

An Englishwoman’s Guide to the Cowboy is available here UK or here US

 

Orchard View by Deborah J. Miles. This book stuck in my mind because of the chilling way that one of the characters was written out (no spoilers!)

Here’s my review:

My overall view of this book was that it gave me that wonderful feeling of wanting to carry on reading. The house, Orchard View tells her own story of people that have lived within her walls, judging their various misdemeanours whilst revealing her own quirks – who doesn’t love a mention of crazy paving? I enjoyed being taken back to 1980s aspiring suburbia here! Deborah J Miles has an intriguing and wonderful style, some of the chapters were almost stories within the story (I love that), chapters of the house’s life going back in time but brought together by the present; (set in the mid-90s) when builder Bill Maynard buys Orchard View and plans to convert it into bedsits the neighbours get involved, and here, the story unfolds into a web of drama that I dare not spoil but trust me it is a good read.

Orchard View

Here’s the blurb: Digging in the garden, builder and current owner, Bill Maynard, discovers some old bones. He worries that the discovery will upset his plans for renovating and selling the house.
Fortunately, his neighbour tells him the whole area was a burial site at the time of the Black Death and finding bones is commonplace.
“Well, as they’re so old and the museums have enough bones already, I suppose we can ignore them. It’s not like there’s been a murder and we’ve just found the body,” he justified his decision.
But had they?
His discovery sets off a chain of unfortunate events.

Orchard View by Deborah J Miles is available here UK and here US

 

The Witches of Castle Clair (2 book series) by Sharon Booth. This series sticks in my mind because when I was little, I was told that my name Samantha is a witches’ name. I’ve always believed I have special powers – any day now they will come into use I’m sure of it.

Here’s my review of book 1: I liked everything about this book, it is a Christmas read because of the setting, the festival of ‘yule’ and the anniversary of a legend. Sky St Clair finds herself in a situation where she has no choice but to return home, moving in with her two sisters in a house and (fictional I think but totally believable) town in Yorkshire that thrives off myths and legends about witchcraft. The characters were so real, their names their suggestion of mystery. Who is this bloke Sky meets on the train? Who does this cat belong to that seems to have made itself at home in the family shop? Why won’t her sister blow out that candle? I wanted to know, but then I didn’t want it to end!

Belle, Book and Christmas Candle (The Witches of Castle Clair 1) by [Booth, Sharon]My Favourite Witch (The Witches of Castle Clair Book 2)

Here’s the blurb from book 2: The world is full of magic, if you know where to look.

It hasn’t been an easy time for Star St Clair. Her father has heaped disgrace on the family, and the man she loves rejected her when he discovered the truth about her powers. But the St Clair family’s magical heritage goes back centuries, and no one could be prouder of that than Star. Neither her father, nor Benedict Greenwood, will be forgiven.

Fate, however, has a shock in store for her. Not only is her errant father back in town, along with his new fiancée, but her ex has arrived home with a new girlfriend in tow. Maths teacher Elsie is everything Benedict seems to want – bright, steady, normal. How can Star possibly compete with her? Not that she intends to, of course. She is a St Clair, after all, and Benedict won’t get a second chance.

Benedict is an anxious man. Bad enough to discover your girlfriend is, in fact, a witch, but running out on her was probably a big mistake. Who knows what she’s plotting in revenge? Taking Elsie home to meet his grandmother is a test of nerve, and Star’s behaviour doesn’t exactly bring him peace of mind. Just what is she up to?

Star couldn’t be sweeter to Elsie, and even presents her with a bouquet of flowers to welcome her to Castle Clair, but Benedict isn’t fooled. Star is plotting something, and when Elsie suffers from a mysterious ailment, he is convinced that it’s all down to his ex-girlfriend. After all, everyone knows witches can’t be trusted.

But events are about to unfold that will challenge both Star and Benedict, and everything they believe to be true. In an attic room in North Yorkshire and a village hall in Ireland, unpalatable truths must be told, secrets must unfold, and life-changing decisions must be made.

Is forgiveness truly impossible? Are witches really that scary? And can a solution be reached before time, patience, and all the bourbon biscuits run out?

A story of pride, prejudice, and a whole lot of magic …

Available here UK and here US

 

The Hopeless Husband series by Ahava Trivedi. This series stuck in my mind because aside from the fact I really enjoyed it, the hopeless husband series is the closest (close but not exactly the same) to my Curmudgeon Avenue series.

Here’s my review of book one: I did enjoy this book. John Webb truly is a hopeless husband, I’m ashamed to say his antics made me smile all the way through, his poor wife! If you’ve ever dated(and dumped) a narcissist, this book is a true picture of the bullet you dodged. Well worth a read, despite your romantic history!

The Anniversary by Ahava TrivediWife Swap (The Hopeless Husband Series, #2)Romantic Break (The Hopeless Husband Series, #3) And book four is out August 10th.

Here is the blurb from book 2: Franny and John Webb are back and they unwittingly find themselves in the midst of a wife swap. John Webb almost instantly hates his new set up but Franny is rather enjoying her new home – and husband.

Will Franny want to come home to John Webb and his consistent blunders, or will the dashing stranger be able to tempt Franny to start a new chapter in her life?

Here are the links to book one (which will lead you to the rest follow this link for all four books

Join me next month to find out which book has stuck.

Happy reading, Samantha xx