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Thursday, 6 December 2012

Guest post by Darlene Panzera + Giveaway

Please give a warm welcome today to Darlene Panzera, who stops by to share with you the behind the scene secrets of how she named her characters in her full length debut novel, . Read on and leave a comment, you could even win an ebook copy of the book! 

Naming Characters
by Darlene Panzera

Hello! Thank you for having me here today! I'm so excited to share with you my process for naming characters.

A woman asked me, "How do you name your characters? I'm reading your book  in , and on the very first page you mention Charlie Pickett. I just had to write to tell you that's my son's name. I love that you used his name. Did you know someone named that, or just come up with it out of the blue?"

I told her I didn't know anyone with that name until she told me. I chose the last name of Pickett to go with Charlie because this character is a singer and known for his music. Pickett, to me, kind of sounds like 'picking a guitar' - which he plays.

Another bachelor in the book trying to win Jenny O'Brien's hand in marriage is Kevin Forester. I chose his last name because he is a rancher/firefighter with the U.S. forest service. Now I wouldn't want to do this with every character in my book, but when you have a full cast, names that hint at occupation or personality traits can be helpful to keep track of who's who.

I never use real names of people I know, but I have taken first and last names of friends and family and mixed them up to create new combinations. I also rely heavily on the phone book and baby name books for ideas. Setting, time era, and type of book or characters I am writing about also play a role.

In my expanded, full length novel of , re-titled and set to release on December 4th 2012, my heroine is a feisty country girl named Jenny with a high-spirited temper so I decided she was Irish and gave her the last name O'Brien. Also, many Irish were among the first settlers of the Okanagan area of Washington State where my story is set and her ancestry is key to why she will not sell her land to the hero.

The hero, Nick Chandler, is strong and confident, so I wanted his name to have a strong "K" sound. The one syllable of his first name and the "D" consonant of his last name also suggest strength. Nick's sister is a tomboy so I gave her the nick-name Billie, a name which can be used for either gender.

takes place in the fictional town of Pine on Jenny O'Brien's horse ranch. Many of the horses were also named for their personality traits. "Starfire" runs fast. "Satan" is temperamental and difficult to handle. "Kastle" is big and gray. "Apache" is a black and white paint horse as seen with many past Native American tribes. And "Blue Devil" is a blue roan, which is a horse with a coat that appears to have a blue tint.

Other variables I take into consideration are the amount of syllables in the name, how well the first and last names sound together, and the meaning of the names. To avoid confusion it's also a good idea not to have too many character's names start with the same letter. When I write I keep a chart of the alphabet and under each letter I list each name I use in the story.

While I may choose some names at random, I think it's always nice to include some great character names that have meaning. Next time you read a book - any book - I'd love to hear what connections you find between the characters and their names.

Darlene Panzera is the winner of the "Make Your Dreams Come True" contest sponsored by Avon Books, which led her novella, , to be published with Debbie Macomber's  released July 2012. The full length novel, retitled, , releases December 12, 2012. She is currently working on a 3 novella set for Avon Books, a division of HarperCollins, to be published May 2013 titled, THE CUPCAKE DIARIES. 

Darlene is a graduate of the Writer's Digest advanced novel writing school, The Christian Writer's Guild apprentice program, and a member of Romance Writers of America's Greater Seattle and Peninsula chapters. Born and raised in New Jersey, Darlene is now a resident of the Pacific Northwest where she lives with her husband and three children. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her family and her two horses, and loves camping, hiking, photography, and lazy days at the lake.

Connect with Darlene at her website

Originally published in shorter form under the title The Bet; first appeared within Debbie Macomber's Family Affair.

In Darlene Panzera's debut full-length romance, an entire town places a bet on just whom pretty Jenny O'Brien will marry . . . and her choice surprises them all!

When tall, handsome out-of-towner Nick Chandler first sets eyes on Jenny O'Brien, she's storming into the Bets & Burgers Café, wielding a broom and threatening the safety of every man in sight. Hey, he figures, she's got the right to be annoyed—the whole town seems to be laying bets on whom Jenny will marry.

Nick's annoyed as well. He didn't think he'd have to propose to romance the land away from her, but to save his sister and his ill-fated business, he jumps into the fray and bets $10,000 that Jenny will marry him.

Now the only thing stopping him from seizing her land . . . may be his own heart

Buy at -


Author Rescue has generously offered an ebook copy of  to a  lucky reader!

To be entered just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and tell us what connections you find between the characters and their names OR if you could name a character what would be his/her name?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 17 December 2012!

Good luck!