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July 9, 2015

.@kellyleefiction Coincidence? Or subconscious mind tricks? #Murdering Eve #release #characternames #amwriting #myWANA

My first book, Murdering Eve, got a revamp & a facelift this year.  Newly edited with a shiny new cover, my new publisher asked me for a slew of information, including "interesting" anecdotes about either my writing process, or the book, to prepare for release promotional materials.

Immediately, I was stumped. What's an interesting anecdote? There are tons of un-interesting things I could say, like the fact that I write cross-legged, or guzzle diet cokes all day, or that I don't usually shower until I know husby is about to arrive home from work - and even then, it's hit or miss. None of that stuff, while true, is particularly interesting.

Then I got a random, out-of-the-blue email from an old boyfriend. And stared at his name in horror. The book I was about to release featured his first name as the name of my hero. Thrown into a frenzy of "holy crap", my brain buzzed with whether or not I'd done it "accidently on purpose".  Questions I didn't want the answer to ricocheted inside my skull, bouncing off one another.

- What if ex-boyfriend finds out I'm an author, reads the book, and assumes I'm still hung up on him?

- What would husby feel if he knew the hero in my first book shares the same name as the guy I dated before him? 

- Most importantly, why on earth did my brain pull such a nasty trick on me?

Then I reminded myself of something I already knew. The hero is a troll, which is kinda funny. Plus, the main "bad guy" in the book is a woman, and coincidentally, shares the name of one of husby's ex-girlfriends. Again - COINCIDENCE, I swear. Luckily, she turns out to be a complete bad-ass and one of my favorite characters, so really it's kind of a compliment.

At the end of the day, I had to admit to myself that I never really believed other authors when they said they didn't realize the names of their characters were from their personal past. That they weren't making some kind of passive-aggressive threat of "don't cross me, or I really will kill you in my next book".  But I have to believe those authors who claimed innocence now, because I'm one of them.

What about you? Have you inadvertently named a character the same as someone in your past and regretted it? Or maybe did it "accidently on purpose"?  :)


Eve moved a little closer and tilted her head to the side, unabashedly inspecting him.
“You don’t look like a troll. You being a werewolf is easier to believe.”
Whit laughed. “If you knew any real werewolves, you wouldn’t say that. I’m curious—what do you think a troll should look like?”
“You know…short, squat.”
She smiled, and warmth from her aura blanketed him. Whit felt their connection reopen. All traces of her fear were gone.
“Actually, I am short, compared to other trolls. I’ve been called a runt before.”
“Trolls have warts.”
He looked at her with mock solemnity. “I could have warts.”
She snorted. “Trolls live under bridges.”
“I like to fish under bridges. I even camp there if I’m out too late and forget my tent.”
Eve put her hands on her hips. “Trolls abduct and eat children.”
He grinned. “Only if I’m really, really hungry.”
Her small fist shot out and smacked him in the shoulder. He laughed and grabbed her wrist, pulling her closer to him.
Turning an angelic face up to his, she said, “Trolls are ugly.”
He leaned down and inhaled her scent. He couldn’t help himself. “Do you think I’m ugly, Eve?”
She allowed him closer, and lowered her voice to a sexy murmur. “I think you’re far from ugly, Whit. But you already know that.”

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Sylvia said...

OMG! I am so careful about the names I choose. Yet the other day I found myself using the last name of an old boyfriend for a villain. It was purely coincidental. It just popped out into the universe that this characters last name was... I quickly changed it, but I couldn't help but laugh. Enjoyed your post.

Sloane B. Collins said...

I totally believe names are everything in a character. I'm really careful about the names I use. I go thru the baby name websites, Sherrilynn Kenyon's Character Naming Sourcebook, etc. When I see a name that really fits my character, it's like a lightbulb flips on.

True story: while writing my first book in 2013, a secondary character walked on the page out of the blue. Hadn't planned for him at all, but he had a name and everything. In 2014, the actor I had used for physical descriptions of my character started a new TV show...and his name was my character's name. Now that's a coincidence!

Kelly L Lee said...

The universe has a tricky sense of humor, Sylvia. :) Thanks for the comment!

Kelly L Lee said...

I wish I were as methodical as you Sloane - but I have my own system. Whenever I'm stuck, I go get a massage (true story). Something about the dark and quiet with no possibility for distractions almost always brings new ideas and mental lightning bolts. It's my mostly-foolproof method for breaking through writer's block. :)

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Kelly! I try to be very careful about this. I keep track. Although I have used names of people I don't care for as villains. LOLOL

Kelly L Lee said...

Oh Vicki... I knew you had a mean streak somewhere, albeit buried really deep and hard to find. :)

Phyllis said...

I do a mixture, Kelly. Sometimes the names just pop in my head and I use that name throughout...never a question. Sometimes I have to research until the cows come home - like Sloane, because nothing fits for the character.

I can't say I've unconsciously named a character after people I know. I have found names similar for people I know and even fashioned the character after them, but those people know I've done that and those characters are always good in my books...mostly secondary characters.

Liese said...

Love, love, love the new cover! Congrats!


Karilyn Bentley said...

Loved the post! So far I haven't named characters after people I know, but I accidentally named a bad guy the same name as my beta reader's good guy. She caught it. Oops!

Your new cover is great! Congrats on the re-release!!!

Cathy McElhaney said...

I just use names that come to me although in my one WIP, I used family surnames for some of the characters. What is funny is that in my first published short story, I did name one bit character a name that kind of flipped a famous football players name, totally by accident. Since I really do not like and truly disrespect this person, I have made him a 'bad guy' in the sequel! LOL! The main characters fiance, whom we never meet, is named Brady Thomas (Tom Brady??)so in book 2 he is a cheater! LOL! Fitting. A friend of mine pointed this out to me. Once she did, it gave me a starting point for book 2!