Interview with author Hannah Warren

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Hannah Warren, author of romance novel CASABLANCA, MY HEART, and historical mystery novel PSYCHIC CONFESSIONS, and welcome her to my blog. Before we begin, here is some biographical information about Hannah:

Hannah Warren was born in Paris, France, in 1956 as a second child to a Dutch father and an English mother. She has lived in The Netherlands almost all her life but maintains strong ties with her own favourite triangle: France, UK and Holland.

Hannah studied Dutch literature and Mass Communication at the University of Amsterdam and later obtained a B.A. in English Literature and Language and a B.A. in Translation from Rotterdam University. After having been a lecturer and a translator for many years, she now works as a staff member at the International Office of HZ University of Applied Sciences in Vlissingen.

Her free-time is taken up by writing fiction, teaching Yoga and pottering around in the garden. After having been a single mum for nearly two decades, her three children have flown the nest. The great sadness that befell Hannah in March 2014 was the loss of her eldest child, daughter Joy, who died after an intense two-year struggle against bile duct cancer.

From the age of 8, Ms Warren has written poetry and short stories but it took her over 50 years to become a published author. Her debut novel – the literary romance Casablanca, My Heart was published by Thorstruck Press in June 2014. Psychic Confessions, first book in the series The Cottage On The Border (November 2014, Thorstruck Press) is Hannah’s second novel and positions her as a writer of suspenseful family sagas. 

Hannah Warren, author photograph

Hannah Warren, author photograph

Welcome Hannah!

Thank you for having me, Marcia! It’s an honour and a delight.

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Q: For how long have you been writing?

A:  Oh Marcia, for as long as I could hold a pen, which is over 50 years now. Until the age of 20 I wrote in Dutch, being brought up in The Netherlands but then switched to English, which is my mother tongue. It took me 50 years to become a published author, though.

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Q: Have any life experiences inspired you to write your books?

A: I think a writer soaks up every life experience she stumbles upon and somehow converts that into fiction. It’s being born with the gift of the senses: colours, sounds, tastes, smells & feelings: they are all constantly in some stage of being transformed into words on paper or the screen.

I know this may sound like a vague answer to a concrete question about concrete life events but I truly believe I was a writer first and then got the extraordinary – often incredibly hard – life that met the job.

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Q: Each writer works in different ways with reference to writing. Do you have a writing program/schedule that works for you?

A: Oh-oh, I’m really hopeless at sticking to schedules. I do NaNoWriMo every year and manage to squeeze out 50K of words in less than 30 days every November. Then, always promising myself I’ll continue to be a good girl in December, fall flat on my nose already on December 1st. I’m a bit of an all-or-nothing type of girl, continuously telling myself to get into the routine of writing at least 500 words a day. That day will come! *nods with determination*

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Q: Do you have any favorite book genres which you love to read?

A: I’m a sucker for old books. I try to grow up and become more modern but always seem to return to the classics. Having only a restricted time for reading at the moment, I really want to learn as much as I can to hone my craft and so…yes… that’s the reason. I study storytelling, vocabulary, sentence construction, atmosphere from the first novel writers. When I retire from the paid job, I’m going to allow myself to read wild and free.

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Q: Are there any favorite books and authors who have been influential upon you and your writing?

A: Rows and rows of authors and books, but first and foremost 19th and early 20th century writers: Russians (Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Chekhov), Brits (Brontë sisters, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy), French, (Gustave Flaubert, Stendhal, Zola), Americans (Henry James, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe). I always feel rather embarrassed bringing this up as it has layers and layers of dustiness around it and I already sense your readers raising their delicate eyebrows at my outmoded list. As said before, these books are more study material to me than reading distraction.

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Q: From my reading experience of CASABLANCA, MY HEART, I found it to be an engrossing, lush romance novel that kept my interest in the story, and its characters, until the very end. I also enjoyed the usage of international locales which added veracity, and interest to the story in a natural style. What inspired you to write the story of romance novelist Heather Simpson, and chart the course of her life over a multi-year period?

A: Thank you so much for your praise, Marcia. I was really moved by your kind review at the time! And gosh, a good question to ask about Casa’s origins! Once upon a time I was a Harlequin translator and for some reason thought I’d give the genre a try myself and this is what came out. I do love writing about other countries, feeling rather isolated on this small post stamp called Holland. So in my writing I always venture into the exotic or simply just next door. Part of Psychic Confessions is situated in Germany.

To be honest, I don’t have a clue where my stories really come from. I’m a classic example of “l’ecriture automatique”. With only a vague idea about the story and the main characters, I sit down at my computer and type what these characters come up with and what scenes develop. I’m forever trying to monitor where the story is going and sometimes see it deviate completely. ‘Ah well’, I then think, ‘you lot do whatever comes into your silly heads’. It’s what I call the Mystic Muse. Enjoy the ride every time, though.

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Q: Amongst your stories, is there one which is closest to your heart, and why?

A: I think it’s the story of my heroine in Daughter of The Alvar Book 1, Ingrid Gunarsson. It’s such a tragic story of a young vicar’s daughter who has all the wonderful prospects of a happy life before her when fate jumps in and changes everything. It’s purity trampled into the soil with filthy boots. And still her song is sung by her daughter Agnes. The story is based on some historical evidence and is situated on the island of Öland in the Baltic Sea, where I used to spend many happy holidays with my children.

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Q: Do you have any favorite TV shows, either from the past, or currently on the air?

A: I hardly watch TV, sometimes the news. Oh yes, I do love Downton Abbey, in fact most BBC historical dramas. Now wouldn’t I?

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Q: Are there any hobbies or pastimes you like to participate in when you have spare time?

A:  I walk a lot and then listen to audiobooks. And I practise Yoga. I’m a qualified Yoga instructor but due to circumstances have had to give up giving lessons but I still do it myself every day. Prevents me from growing too old too soon. Hopefully.

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Q: You are a versatile writer in terms of genres, tackling stories in the romance, women’s fiction, and mystery genres. Would you like to write stories in any other genres?

A: I think I’m not really a contemporary romance writer after all but never say never so perhaps I’ll return to the genre someday. At the moment, I love writing historical fiction, being the fact-checking-maniac, but I might dabble in fantasy as well some time or other. There is a series in the back of my mind circling around an otherworldly theme.

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Q: Are you left-handed, or right-handed? Being a left-hander, it is interesting to see how many writers are either one or the other, or ambidextrous.

A: Haha, good question. Originally completely left-handed but forbidden to be a lefty by both school and parents, so became a right-handed person by force. Still do sports left-handed and am always pointed out I walk on the right side of my bicycle when pushing it, which points to left-handedness as well.

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Q: Do you have any other writing projects, or new/upcoming releases, that you would like to mention to readers?

A: I’m currently editing “Ingrid” Book 1 in Daughter of the Alvar Series, which will come out in mid-2015. This is a historical family saga situated in south-Sweden in the 1890s. I was writing Book 2 in that series called “Agnes” but am now putting that on hold to first write the second book in The Cottage on The Border Series called The Angel Within. In the final stages of editing Psychic Confessions, I realised it needed a sequel.

At Christmas, my publishing company Thorstruck Press will bring out an anthology, with – among others – a story from my hand called The Blood-Red Nails of War, dealing with a snippet of Agnes’s life in World War I.

So yes, very busy writing-wise.

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I am certain you will join me in thanking Hannah today for her time, and that we look forward to reading more of her works in the future. If you wish to contact Hannah, she is available on:

*Twitter: @hannah_war

*Goodreads

*Facebook page

*Hannah’s website

*Hannah’s Blog

- Hannah’s books can be accessed by clicking on the book covers below:

 

CASABLANCA, MY HEART by Hannah Warren

CASABLANCA, MY HEART by Hannah Warren

PSYCHIC CONNECTIONS by Hannah Warren

PSYCHIC CONNECTIONS by Hannah Warren

Meet Georgina and Jeremiah from JEREMIAH AND GEORGINA’S CHRISTMAS

Normally happy and upbeat, Georgina Allan is frustrated, and somewhat disillusioned lately. It is the week before Christmas, and she has been sent by her supervisor on a key work mission which will be taking place in the serenity of a lush woodsy hotel. It is a campaign of imperative importance to her company, and her attention to detail is the main reason for her selection in the campaign. The only catch is that her fellow colleague has been unable to attend, and in her place will be Georgina’s nemesis – the enchanting, handsome, and very affable, Jeremiah Jacobson.

Georgina from JEREMIAH AND GEORGINA'S CHRISTMAS

Georgina from JEREMIAH AND GEORGINA’S CHRISTMAS

Jeremiah and Georgina have never seen eye to eye on anything, and are like oil and water. This week will be a test for Georgina to see if she can stomach Jeremiah’s unending roaming eye, and bewitching charm, both of which know no bounds. Will Georgina be overwhelmed by Jeremiah’s antics, and run back home to her family, whom she greatly misses, or will this Christmas be an event to remember for Georgina?

Jeremiah from JEREMIAH AND GEORGINA'S CHRISTMAS

Jeremiah from JEREMIAH AND GEORGINA’S CHRISTMAS

JEREMIAH AND GEORGINA’S CHRISTMAS is now available on Smashwords, Barnes and NobleAmazon, I-Tunes, Kobo, Indigo, Overdrive, Scribd, Txtr, and Inktera.

Interview with author Pamela Winn

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Pamela Winn, author of short story and poetry collection HEARTFELTS, mystery thrillers BA-47 and CAPERNICIOUS, children’s book NO, JIMMY, NO, technothriller SUPPRESSION, and supernatural novel OBLIGATIONS, to name just a few of her many books, and welcome her to my blog.

Pamela Winn, author photograph

Pamela Winn, author photograph

 

Welcome Pamela!

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Q: For how long have you been writing?

A: I have been publishing for two years. I have always written short stories and poems but decided to try novels and publishing in October of 2012. My family and I had to move because of my husband’s bad health and in downsizing I almost left my writings behind and decided I should publish them and have them available in case another catastrophe hit.

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Q: Have any life experiences inspired you to write your books?

A: Everything, especially my book Suppression, based on a true story. I have 18 grand children and they are who I keep in mind when I write the kids books. I also use my grandkids names in the stories and they think they are famous, too fun. Plus I love reading, especially conspiracies and mysteries, included in a lot of the novels I write. Mostly I take the stories from my dreams and then my characters finish them.

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Q: Each writer works in different ways with reference to writing. Do you have a writing program/schedule that works for you?

A: I write long hand and when I put the pen to paper the words just seem to flow. I really don’t use an outline for the novels, other than character traits.

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Q: Do you have any favorite book genres which you love to read?

A: I read almost anything, I have well over 2300 on Goodreads and over 570 reviews I have done on Amazon. I do love a good mystery with a bit of horror.

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Q: Are there any favorite books and authors who have been influential upon you and your writing?

A: Stephen King, John Steinbeck, Dean Koontz, Charles Dickens… I just love books. I feel the reader brings their imaginations to each novel and finish the story. That’s why I love my readers.

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Q: I found HEARTFELTS a stimulating and interesting examination of issues close to women’s hearts, such as family problems, children, marriage, and self-image, handled in a realistic, and insightful manner. What inspired you to write the short stories and poems from this book?

A: My short stories are different from my novels, but I wanted to write the short stories to express what women and men too, deal with in real life. It is one thing to read a novel with a happy ending and another to face real life issues. I hope the stories inspire those going through the same types of scenarios.

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Q: Amongst your stories, is there one which is closest to your heart, and why?

A: I love Obligations because it crosses supernatural with spiritual and also examines things like aura’s which I am fascinated by. I read a lot about these types of things and love to watch medium shows. It is fun to ponder just what is out there and what we are capable of if we tap into our own gifts and talents.

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Q: Do you have any favorite TV shows, either from the past, or currently on the air?

A: I love old comedies and the twilight zone series, but for new shows I like Haven and Ressurrection. Anything is possible.

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Q: Are there any hobbies or pastimes you like to participate in when you have spare time?

A: I love to draw and paint, the few drawings in the book Heartfelts are my own. I used to sell drawings before I began writing all the time. I also love to cook or should say bake I am a dessert freak!

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Q: You are a versatile writer in terms of genres, tackling stories in the supernatural, children’s books, and mysteries, and thrillers. Would you like to write stories in any other genres?

A: I think I’ve hit almost all genres except erotic and that’s one place I don’t want to explore and I haven’t done a zombie book because there are too many books and shows on that already. I would like to do a historical novel, especially one that had part of my own family history in it.

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Q: Are you left-handed, or right-handed? Being a left-hander, it is interesting to see how many writers are either one or the other, or ambidextrous.

A: I am right handed, but when I paint I use both.

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Q: Do you have any other writing projects, or new/upcoming releases, that you would like to mention to readers?

A: My 20th book I am doing for the November NaNoWrite, in fact after a week I was half done. I published a book almost every few months anyway, I can’t seem to stop. Maybe because I waited so late to start that I am making up for lost time.

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I am certain you will join me in thanking Pamela today for her time, and that we look forward to reading more of her works in the future. If you wish to contact Pamela, she is available on:

*Twitter

*Goodreads

*Barnes and Noble

*Facebook page

*Amazon.com

*Pamela’s website

*BooksYeah

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- Pamela’s books can be accessed by clicking on the book covers below:

MYSTIC VALLEY by P.S. Winn

MYSTIC VALLEY by P.S. Winn

HEARTFELTS by P.S. Winn

HEARTFELTS by P.S. Winn

 

BA-47 by P.S. Winn

BA-47 by P.S. Winn

CAPERNICIOUS by P.S. Winn

CAPERNICIOUS by P.S. Winn

NO, JIMMY, NO by P.S. Winn

NO, JIMMY, NO by P.S. Winn

SUPPRESSION by P.S. Winn

SUPPRESSION by P.S. Winn

OBLIGATIONS by P.S. Winn

OBLIGATIONS by P.S. Winn

Cover Reveal: JEREMIAH AND GEORGINA’S CHRISTMAS

In the week before Christmas, Georgina Allan has been assigned by her advertising company to develop a campaign in the serenity of a lush woodsy hotel. As another work colleague cannot attend, Georgina will be working on the campaign with fellow work colleague Jeremiah Jacobson, whom she detests with a passion.

Jeremiah is a lady’s man par excellence, and Georgina cannot stand his smooth charm, which has enchanted and bewitched many a beautiful woman over time. In the incandescence of a Christmas in the woods, will Georgina be able to withstand Jeremiah without running back home, or will this really be a Christmas to remember for Georgina for all the right reasons?

I present to you the cover for my Christmas comedy-romance novelette, JEREMIAH AND GEORGINA’S CHRISTMAS.

JEREMIAH AND GEORGINA'S CHRISTMAS

JEREMIAH AND GEORGINA’S CHRISTMAS will be available on Amazon and Smashwords from 15th November 2014, with other e-bookstores to follow.

 

Interview with author Regina Puckett

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Regina Puckett, author of the romance novels CONCEALED IN MY HEART and SONGS THAT I WHISPER, short story romances IF LOVE WAS ENOUGH and its sequel BALLOON WISHES, and horror stories PIECES and REGINA PUCKETT’S SHORT TALES OF HORROR, to name just a few of Regina’s many works, and welcome her to my blog.

Regina Puckett, author photograph

Regina Puckett, author photograph

Welcome Regina!

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Q: For how long have you been writing?

A: I wrote my first romance in the seventh grade. Loads of kissing littered its pages but there was very little storyline.

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Q: Have any life experiences inspired you to write your books?

A: Everything around me inspires my stories. On a road trip to Myrtle Beach I thought about how dangerous hitchhiking was and that inspired me to write Paying the Hitchhiker. As I was driving home from work one afternoon, I saw a beggar with a sign saying he was hungry. That inspired me to write Will Work for Food. A dream inspired me to write Concealed in My Heart. I will spare you the sordid details of every inspiration, but it just takes on one thing to set me to thinking, what if?

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Q: Each writer works in different ways with reference to writing. Do you have a writing program/schedule that works for you?

A: Since I work fulltime, I have to write whenever I have a free moment.

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Q: Do you have any favorite book genres which you love to read?

A: Historical Romance. I love reading novels set in the 1700-1800’s. Give me a handsome, endearing duke to fall in love with, and I’m lost in that book until I read the words the end.

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Q: Are there any favorite books and authors who have been influential upon you and your writing?

A:  Gone with the Wind set me onto my path of becoming a writer. After reading it, I wanted to write a book that captured a reader like that book did to me.

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Q: I was struck by the moving narratives of IF LOVE WAS ENOUGH and BALLOON WISHES, and how they presented characters who had been hurt by tragic life events, but managed to find their own understanding of what love and life is, and make it work for them. What inspired you to write this two part exploration into protagonist April’s life?

A: The idea for If Love was Enough came after thinking about all the prayers I thought went unanswered. Were they really not answered or had God’s answer to them just been no?

In my story Adam is overseas fighting in Iraq and his pregnant wife, April is back at home praying every day for his safe return. When Adam’s killed a few days before he’s supposed to return home, April questions why God didn’t answer her prayers. I think it’s an honest look into why God doesn’t always answer our prayers like we think he should.

I never planned on writing Balloon Wishes until a follower on Twitter asked me if I ever planned to finish writing April’s story. In my mind I thought the story was finished, but that simple question set me to thinking what did happen to April and her unborn baby?

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Q: Amongst your stories, is there one which is closest to your heart, and why?

A: I love all of my books but Love is a Promise Kept is probably my favorite. When it was first released by Whimsical Publications its title was Waiting for Mary Elizabeth, but after receiving my rights back I released under its new title.

The reason this story is so dear to my heart is because I love the idea of two people recognizing who they want to spend their entire lives with even though they are just children, and who wouldn’t want a man like Gregory willing to devote his entire life to keeping a promise to you? He’s a man of his word. A man can be muscled and beautiful eye-candy, but if he’s a liar it makes him ugly to the core.

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Q: Do you have any favorite TV shows, either from the past, or currently on the air?

A: I’m a huge NCIS fan. That in itself is strange, because for years after seeing Mark Harmon play Ted Bundy I couldn’t stand the sight of him. He has certainly redeemed himself in my eyes with his role of Jethro Gibbs.

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Q: Are there any hobbies or pastimes you like to participate in when you have spare time?

A: I enjoy painting and sewing. I’m not great at either one but that doesn’t stop me from trying.

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Q: You are a versatile writer in terms of genres, tackling stories in romance, horror, children’s books, and erotica. Would you like to write stories in any other genres?

A: I don’t think in terms of genres. I write the story that won’t give me peace until it’s down on paper. So I guess the simple answer is yes, because who really knows what that next story is going to be about? I might dream about aliens populating the Earth next.

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Q: Are you left-handed, or right-handed? Being a left-hander, it is interesting to see how many writers are either one or the other.

A: Right-handed.

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Q: Do you have any other writing projects, or new/upcoming releases, that you would like to mention to readers?

A: I just released two books. Once Upon a Modern Time is an anthology of short romances I loosely based on fairy tales and Short Tales of Horror Part II.

I just finished a redo of Caterpillar wants to be a Cow and I’m waiting for my daughter, Charity Parkerson, to have the time to scan the new illustrations to create a new paperback for me. I was never completely satisfied with the first edition, but couldn’t figure out what it was lacking. Fortunately, one night out of the blue it hit me what I needed to do to make the story better. I rewrote the story and had my editor, Clive Johnson, check it for mistakes and flow. With the addition to the storyline I had to create 22 new illustrations. I can’t wait to see what the new book will look like.

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I am certain you will join me in thanking Regina today for her time, and that we look forward to reading more of her works in the future. If you wish to contact Regina, she is available on:

*Twitter

*Goodreads

*Smashwords

*Barnes and Noble

*Facebook page

*Amazon.com

*Regina’s website

*Regina’s Blog

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- Regina’s books can be accessed by clicking on the book covers below:

CONCEALED IN MY HEART by Regina Puckett

CONCEALED IN MY HEART by Regina Puckett

SONGS THAT I WHISPER by Regina Puckett

SONGS THAT I WHISPER by Regina Puckett

IF LOVE WAS ENOUGH by Regina Puckett

IF LOVE WAS ENOUGH by Regina Puckett

BALLOON WISHES by Regina Puckett

BALLOON WISHES by Regina Puckett

PIECES by Regina Puckett

PIECES by Regina Puckett

REGINA PUCKETT'S SHORT TALES OF HORROR by Regina Puckett

REGINA PUCKETT’S SHORT TALES OF HORROR by Regina Puckett

BORROWED WINGS by Regina Puckett

BORROWED WINGS by Regina Puckett

CATERPILLAR WANTS TO BE A COW by Regina Puckett

CATERPILLAR WANTS TO BE A COW by Regina Puckett

Naming Characters: One Take On This Process

The process of choosing names for characters is one that can be undertaken with much happiness, or, at times, fraught with immense difficulties. It can sometimes be a stumbling block in writing, as, for example, the character in question is a central character through whom the action flows, and the inability to name the character may temporarily handicap the story  as a whole. There should not be reason for despair, though, if you are caught in character-naming limbo.

Naming Characters One Take On This Process

I have found that if I repeatedly think about what to name a character, the ideas do not flow easily. It is best to leave this process alone for a spell, and maybe continue writing or planning the story. You could also employ a ‘temporary’ name for a character if you have been using this for a while, but still do not know whether to stick with this, or have another name. The less pressure that exists on what to name the character, the better for the mind. This is something which is organic, and grows along with the story, and our perceptions of it, and the characters.

It is also advisable to remain open to stimuli, and not shut oneself off from the world during the process. For me, the names of characters have appeared at the most unexpected of moments. You may be traveling by car or bus somewhere, and notice the name of a town or suburb that could be useful for a character, and this opens up a whole host of opportunities you never believed possible. You may be in a mall or even in the supermarket, and a name can crop up that provides inspiration. It is just one of these spontaneous things that can happen.

If you are seeking something more concrete, it is also good to check out the many websites on the internet which deal with names, and their meanings. Here are links to some useful websites in this vein:

http://www.behindthename.com/

http://www.thinkbabynames.com/

I have found on many instances that character names can be very evocative, and throw light on a character in a most definitive manner. For example, a character may be sweetness and light, and their name the opposite of their temperament, while, vice versa, a brazen character could have a name indicating purity and innocence. The fun that can be experienced doing this can be very enjoyable!

It is a good idea to also keep a list somewhere, such as a file on the computer, or in a notepad, of names which you find interesting. While they may not be suitable for a particular story, they may enrich another story which may be coming your way. Any which way you see it, naming characters is a process that provides much satisfaction, and challenges for writers, which should make the stories themselves more interesting, and potent to readers.