Hello my favorite booknerds and lovers of my stories! So, if you subscribe to my newsletter you saw the open call for blog post topics, and you guys did not disappoint! I have a whole list of things you want to know that I’ll be tackling. If you don’t subscribe to the newsletter, or missed the email, don’t worry: you can suggest more topics via the comments or feel free to message me the things you’d be interested in me discussing. So, without further ado, the first of your blog post suggestions answered: How do I come up with the names for all my characters and places?
This sounds like a simple topic to start with, but honestly, I love this question. I love coming up with names for things. Too often fantasy writers feel they have to have unpronounceable names in order to make their book feel like a true fantasy. I personally hate that.
If I stumble over a name, if I can’t figure out how you’re supposed to pronounce it, I am immediately disconnected from the story. My flow in the plot disrupted as I pause to try and puzzle it out. Not that I find those books bad and therefore don’t want to finish, but I do find it annoying. Tell me friends: am I alone in this? But it was/is that annoyance that I take with me when I begin world and character building prior to writing the first paragraph of any of my books.
First, I figure out what place my fantasy worlds are based on, if any at all. For Selkirk, it has a very distinct Scotland/European feel to it, so all the names needed to fit that. As for places like Theda, it has a Sicilian/Italian feel. So, the names of the people and locations needed to feel authentic to such regions.
Once I have the geography figured out, I go on to sites like Behind the Name and filter out names based on region and how “old” something needs to feel. Selkirk, compared to Theda, is pretty far behind in terms of advancement, so the names needed to have an old-timey feel to them as well. From there I go through those lists and make notes of all the male and female names I like and, at first glance, can figure out how they are said—hence names like Raghnall, Baird, Ailbeart, and Lana. They look right when put on the page; they fit the vibe I want in being uncommon, being authentic to the region, and something that won’t trip people up—hopefully.
The process is rather similar when it comes to naming the rivers, forests, cities and towns in my books as well. If you haven’t noticed, I LOVE naming those regions. I even have maps drawn out where I label and name all the rivers and mountains that, one day, I’ll have re-made professionally, I promise. The only difference is I have to make sure these names don’t sound like they could belong to a person in order to avoid confusion. That’s how I settled on names like Kincardine, the Brethil Forest, and even Selkirk itself.
Fun fact: Selkirk is the name of a real town in Scotland! So you, my dear friends, can actually go and visit Selkirk if you so choose. Please let me know if you encounter any feral elves along the way!
The only time I don’t follow this pattern is for my contemporary fictions. As they are modern and set in today’s setting, having a name like Tallis would stand out, in a bad way. So I stick with names I like such as Rebecca, or use the names of family and friends, like Megan. Call it cheating if you want, but I like to think of it as creative problem solving.
So there you have it! That is my process for coming up with names. What do you think? Hopefully this clears that process up, but if not let me know, or if you’d like more details about a certain name in particular let me know that, too. In the meantime, let me know if there are any other blog topics you want covered and I’ll add them to my list!
Greetings friends and booknerds! It’s finally time for another edition of “Meet the Blogger”! Today I’m thrilled to introduce you to Paige Green of PopTheButterfly Reads and the Indie Blog Hop! I met Paige shortly after my first book came out, and we have been stalking each other on social media ever since. Recently, she hosted a read-along for my book with a handful of her friends, but that’s not why I’m featuring her this month. Paige is not only one of the most passionate readers—and lover of all things bookish—I know, but she is also a wonderful advocate for indie and small press authors. She devotes so much of her time and energy to spreading the good word about fabulous books written by smaller authors, who you may otherwise miss, that I’d be 100% a terrible person for not spreading the word about Paige and everything she does for the book-loving community. So, without further ado, please enjoy my interview with this fabulous human, and be sure to follow her and check out her websites if you’re an author and are interested in utilizing her offerings:
Blog – Goodreads – Indie Blog Hop – Instagram – YouTube
When I first “met” you, it was through a blog tour hosted by another blogger. Since then (goodness, it’s been nearly 2 years) you’ve started your own book blog tour service for indie authors! Can you tell us a bit about the Indie Blog Hop and what inspired you to start it?
Oh Lordy, time flies! I was inspired in December when I learned that Goodreads would start charging authors/publishers to host giveaways on their site. I thought it was extremely unfair and greedy to everyone, but especially Indie authors and publishing companies. I wanted to give people a way to freely promote their books and host giveaways without fear of losing money and the idea just kind of blossomed from there.
Your love of books is no secret, you even had a bookish themed wedding and engagement shoot! But what first got you into reading and made you love it so much?
I’ve always really liked reading and my parents encouraged it and are readers themselves. Both of them always challenged me to read outside my range and to explore the world through books. I’ve always traveled with at least one book in my bag since I was tiny, even when I was in a reading slump.
This is a very broad (and multi-tiered) question, but what is it about reading that you love so much? What is the most important thing for you when reading a book? Characters? World building? Unique plot? Etc.
I think what I love about books so much is that they’re reliable. They’ve always been a bit of a safety blanket for me, something I could rely on in whatever situation I found myself in. You can always open a book and find yourself somewhere new or familiar without judgment or condemnation. When I read I find that the most important thing for me in any book is my ability to connect with the characters. They don’t have to be likable and they don’t have to be good, but I have to be able to connect with them in some way or empathize with them somehow or else I’m not going to be able to get into the book. I also really like good world building, especially for high fantasy or sci-fi novels.
What would be your absolute perfect book? What would it have? Does it exist already, or will this be something you write one day?
Well sometimes I’m a bit of a mood reader lol, so that’s a hard question. I think I would really enjoy a book in which the main character isn’t a good character. Like, not a villain, but someone who’s misunderstood and acts out for attention because of issues they have at home. I used to work in Juvenile Justice and I’ve dealt with kids who were troublemakers. A majority of them didn’t commit crimes because they wanted to commit crimes, but because there were underlying issues at home that they couldn’t deal with and acting out was their only way of telling the world “hey there is something wrong in my life and I need help now!” While I’m currently writing a couple of books, one of them revolves around a teen who’s a habitual runaway, which I think is something that’s not been fully explored by literature.
What other bloggers and writers do you enjoy reading or admire? Why?
Oh geez. I don’t really get to enjoy bloggers anymore like I used to because of work and other obligations, but I do enjoy reading Kate Olsen (The Loud Library Lady) for bloggers and I love listening to booktubers like Hailey In Bookland and Nadine Brandes. For writers currently I’m really digging Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds), Miranda Asebado (The Deepest Roots), Scott Westerfeld (Imposters), Katrin Van Dam (Come November), CE Clayton (The Monster of Selkirk), Nicole Lambert (Threatening Souls), and Kendra Radke (Entangled Collateral).
What’s the hardest kind of blog post or review for you to write?
Almost every review is kind of hard for me. I take a lot of time and consideration into each book review to hopefully make something that can help others. I also really struggle with tag posts because I suck at thinking up books off the top of my head that fit tag prompts.
You rep for a lot of different kinds of bookish companies as well as book groups. How did you get involved with them originally and what’s your favorite thing to rep?
I originally got involved with companies because one reached out to me when I was still a new bookstagrammer and asked me to help promote their products. I really liked promoting the items and started entering different rep searches for different companies. While I get a lot of free products from them, I also try to support the shops by buying from their shop as well. I currently rep for a lot of shops and while I love each and every one of them, I find that my favorite thing to show off and promote are totes. I’m a tad obsessed with totes lol.
I hope you all enjoyed meeting Paige of PopTheButterfly and Indie Blog Hop! If you are a booklover, she really is one to follow, I promise you won't be disappointed! In another month (or two...) I'll feature another excellent blogger, so stay tuned my friends!