Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Wednesday Guest- Jannine Corti-Petska
What's in a Name?
A very short analysis of naming my characters.
There is a reason behind my hero's name in LOVE'S SWEET WAGER, my recent release. Reno Hunter didn't just appear out of the blue. He's a gambler, well-known on the gambling circuit in 1852. I thought what better name could I give him than Reno, as in Reno, Nevada, a gambling destination for many people. I wonder if anyone has picked up on that connection.
Hunter was a bit more complex. Did Reno hunt for games to sit in on? Or for women? Maybe, but gambling was his sole mistress. He certainly is on the hunt for Rachel, the heroine, for...let's just say, matters of the flesh. Every good hunter gets what he goes after, right? I was intrigued by the movie title Heart is the Lonely Hunter. Although my books has nothing in common with the movie, doesn't every hero in a romance lose his heart to the hearoine, something he fights against? But I wanted something to connect the story to gambling. After you've read the book, you'll understand why.
The heroine's original name was Candi Garrett. My thinking behind her first name was her being a sweet treat for the hero. LOL, for a story set in 1852, it was a terrible choice. Eventually, I settled on Rachel, which is more appropriate for the era. Rachel has many meanings, among them "sheep," "little lamb" and "one of purity." Okay, see where I'm going here? A lamb for the hunter. Is she pure? You bet. All my heroines are virgins at the beginning of the story.
I suppose there are no mysteries to picking a character's name. Sometimes I choose by the sound of it as I speak the name. I ask myself if the h/h names compliment each other. Can the name be pronounced without the reader slamming my book against the wall because she has no clue about how to say it?
Naming characters is extremely important to me. If I'm not comfortable with a name, I can't get into the story. After a plot idea comes to me, I brainstorm my characters' names, then the book title. I must have those elements before I begin to write. In most of my books, my h/h have nicknames. I still haven't figured out why that is, but I do contribute it to breeding familiarity by those closest to the hero or heroine. One of these days, I might research which names in history have been the most popular. Often, though, I try to stay away from every day names, even if they were used centuries ago. I think it comes down to giving your characters individuality for the era of their story. I do use John, Mary and others we see often today. But those names are reserved for the supporting cast, with the exception of the secondary male and female characters. After all, they may eventually tell their own story.
Video link: http://youtu.be/d764IotVEjM
Her gambler father murdered, Rachel Garrett joins a wagon train west to be with her aunt and the fiancé she's never met. Her dream is to forget the life she led performing on stage to earn the money her father gambled away and settle down in one place. But along the trail, she is helplessly drawn to a priest--forbidden fruit--and her hopes are shattered.
Professional gambler Reno Hunter is wanted for the murder of James Garrett. His disguise as a priest on a wagon train is foolproof, until he discovers the woman the old gambler wagered in that fatal card game and Rachel Garrett are one and the same. Can he protect his identity and his heart, or will he surrender to his desire for Rachel and risk being apprehended by the law?
In this scene, Reno is jealous that his brother Alex accompanied Rachel into the fort to shop. Because of his disguise
as a priest, Reno couldn't do anything about it. Neither could he suppress his strong attraction to her.
Reno shrewdly watched Rachel ride into camp alongside his brother. His gut twisted every time he saw the two together.
He was still irked at Alex for accompanying Rachel into the fort on the premise that Mrs. Larson called for the priest. The lie
battered his mind, and he’d conjured up many reasons for Alex’s duplicity. The moment his brother left Rachel alone, Reno
walked up to her before she had the chance to dismount.
“A new hat?”
She touched the hat, seemingly guilty for wearing it. “Yes, it is. Alex bought it for me—I mean…he—” She
pressed her lips together in displeasure then stated bluntly, “I didn’t ask him to buy it.”
Her familiarity with Alex’s name raised Reno’s suspicions. It slipped off her tongue as if she’d spoken it a hundred
times before. He doubted the gift didn’t mean anything. Knowing his brother lavished gifts on the women who had
succumbed to his charms turned Reno’s gut inside out. He scowled while thinking up ways to make Alex suffer for his
indiscretions. Reno inhaled deeply to collect his unhealthy thoughts and control his precarious temper.
“I see you have your own gloves.”
She bunched her hands into her skirt and indignant fire flared in her eyes. When she sat up taller with a look of challenge,
his gut twisted tighter.
“I cannot lie to you, Father. Alex bought the gloves, too.” She pulled blue material out of her saddlebag. “And the reticule.”
Apparently, guilt rode her to tell the truth.
She swung her leg over the horse’s neck to dismount. Reno curved his fingers around her small waist, forcing her hands to
his shoulders as he set her to the ground. Remembering his place, he dropped his arms like felled trees.
“Apparently you and Alex are on friendly terms now.”
Her sunny smile stole his breath. “Yes, he and I are on friendly terms now.”
A tick worked along Reno’s jaw, and he couldn’t do a damn thing to stop it. He felt a burning need to ask how friendly.
Instead, he chomped his teeth together and pried his lips apart with a reserved smile.
“May I help you unsaddle your horse?”
“Don’t trouble yourself, Father.”
“Believe me, it’s no trouble at all.” He clenched his jaw. Better me than Alex.
The Wild Rose Press
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My website: www.jcortipetska.com