If you like to read romance novels of all genres, join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all…about our writing. Each week we answer the same questions. Once you’ve read my blog, the link below will direct you to the next writer’s blog. Tell your friends about us and please ask questions or make comments. We’d love to hear from you.
- How did you go about choosing the names for your characters?
When I first began writing I was overwhelmed with note cards, outlining, keeping the timeline for each scene accurate, that names for my characters were the last thing on my mind. Sadly, I chose them randomly from a baby name list off the Internet.
There were many problems with that decision, least of which were the amount of names available. I kept changing my mind, forgetting which incredible name I’d used for my nosy neighbor back in chapter one. Or was that chapter three? I’d frantically search my work and try to remember which chapter or scene she’d been in and lose my train of thought. Not a good start.
I quickly made two changes. I begin using strong and not easily forgotten names for my female characters, like Scar who is a kick butt FBI agent. Who could forget a name like Scar?
Secondary characters were assigned other easily remembered names such as a close friend or family member’s. Once the characters come to life and I find her/his voice, I change the name to fit the personality. I still peruse books and lists of names on the Internet, but I keep the names filed away in my memory, and like magic the permanent names of characters will eventually pop up while I’m writing their dialogue. I love it when that happens!
2. Where did the inspiration for your current book come from?
I have two WIP’s at the moment so I’ll choose the newest for this question. The inspiration for the book is a cool setting and two experiences I had many years ago.
My first career, the one that allows me to write full-time, also gave me the opportunity to travel. One of my favorite spots was a restored monastery that sits at the base of a live volcano, and only a few short blocks from the charming town of Antigua.
On my first visit to this peaceful place, I struck up a conversation with a young American couple in the process of adopting a child from a local orphanage. While waiting for the necessary paperwork to be completed, the orphanage encouraged the couple to spend time with the child during the day– taking long walks, playing in the park, having an ice cream together, and acquainting the child with his new parents before the abrupt departure to his new home. I thought it was a wonderful idea to ease into the relationship, for the parent, but more importantly for the child. It was heartwarming to witness the new family’s joy and excitement and for some reason every year or so, this memory would replay in my dreams.
During that same visit, a friend took my husband and me on a trip to Lake Atitlan. We toured the villages taking the customary photo with a local woman wearing the beautiful colors of her tribe. While posing for the photo I placed my hand around her waist and she suddenly became rigid and verbally upset. My friend quietly asked that I remove my hand, and later explained that I had unwittingly touched the sleeping child under the mother’s robe. Evidently there had been several child abductions from tribal women working in the villages. Years later I ran across an article stating the Guatemalan government had ceased all foreign adoptions and the reason sited was to investigate a baby-stealing ring that catered to rich foreigners.
Thanks to my dreams, my experiences on that particular visit had remained crisp and clear in my memory. And because I believe the words of Albert Einstein are true, “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous”, my book The Tears of Antigua was born.
3. What methods do you use to ensure you have no plot holes (journal, storyboard, outline, editor, etc.)?
Oh, those damned plot holes, (BTW: That’s my editor speaking).
I’m an outline girl and use the three-act process to plot. I also rely on beta readers and because I had many plot issues in my first draft, I also seek the advice of my son, a film editor. I now involve him at the outline stage and his input has become invaluable.
A strong writing software program is a plotters’ BFF. There are a lot of great programs out there, but the one that has saved me mucho hours of searching for the idea I had last week, a research note I’m sure was on my desk this morning, or countless other tidbits that seemed to keep me up at night, is Scrivener.
I’m absolutely sold on this software, primarily because Gwen Hernandez, the Scrivener guru, is readily available to answer questions that will keep a girl from hair-pulling frustration. Who wants to spend time learning a new software program? We’re writers and we want to write! Organized or not.
I broke down and took one of Gwen’s online classes and now outlining, plotting, and tracking notes that plug holes, as well as all my research for my current WIP, is at my fingertips and just one click away. It’s a heck of a lot more efficient than scribbling on a sticky note or a scrap of paper on my desk, (bad habits from my past).
Gwen’s not only the author of Scrivener for Dummies, she’s also a talented romantic suspense writer. Well of course she is! I am forever indebted to this smart and talented woman. Thanks to Gwen I sleep a lot better. J