Guest Post by Adrian J Smith
There’s a lot that goes into a name. I’m quite open about talking about names of characters and to picking them randomly as I go along for side characters, but I never pick a main character’s name randomly. That’s particularly important in this series. James Matthews is a woman—and that’s not a common first name for a woman. There’s even a joke about it in the first book.
James is a name that has always had a special place for me. If I was a boy, it would have been my middle name, and thus the middle initial in my author name became a “J” and I’ve always hoped that no one would ever ask me what it meant. In the two years I’ve been writing under this pen name no one has, so I’m counting my lucky stars!
James Matthews was supposed to have a more exotic name for a woman. She’s a bit exotic in looks and definitely does not fall into the norm. She’s a female firefighter who happens to be a lesbian, oh, and did I mention she has a special gift? She’s not your norm, and her name becomes that.
Addison, on the other hand, is a bit more normal. I have a special affinity for any name that begins with an “A” and thus my author name and her name must begin with a name. I also wanted a name that was gender-neutral to add a slight confusion in the beginning of book one, and a nickname for James to call her on the side.
Lily goes back to one of my best friends in high school, someone who inspired me to be creative and to go where I never thought I could go. I needed a name, and Lily’s legal name, as you find out rather quickly in Ashes Fall, is Alyssa. My good friend Lily in high school probably doesn’t even know I’ve named this character after her, but I think it suits her, and she would be most excited with the turn Lily takes (although, I will say, her name is based on my friend, the personality is the complete opposite of my friend).
Names are just as important as anything else that goes into a book. They have to fit the character, fit the personality, and they have to fit the author. A lot of people ask whether or not they should have a pen name, and honestly, they’re the only ones who can answer that question. My reasoning was simple—keep day job and night job separate, create a buffer for the two, and hopefully get away with writing lesbian fiction with my day job never finding out.
I gave myself a new identity. But what I’ve come to realize is I’m more myself under this pen name than I can be under my real name. It’s not something I quite expected, but I do sincerely enjoy it.
About The Author
Previously he wrote and published The Internet Financing Illusion which investigated the dark side of the Internet and the scams committed upon unsuspecting businessmen.
About the Book
Mike Hegan, a veteran police detective being forced to retire on medical disability, refuses to believe the official version. His search for the truth
leads him to a promontory on a Caribbean island where scores are settled and lives lost.
Guest Post by Vincent Panettiere
When my father learned I had written the story he bought my first typewriter which I still have - eons later - and which worked perfectly until I had it cleaned.
I wrote for my college newspaper and literary magazine - short stories, book reviews etc.
After graduating from college I wrote for a wire service and daily newspaper in Boston. It was somewhere around that time I decided I needed to get serious about a career and ended up in public relations. I was still writing but it was boiler plate stuff.
Years later I started writing screen plays and submitting them to studios in California. They came back too. A woman at one studio suggested I move to Los Angeles and give it a shot. I did and within a few years sold four film projects. None were produced. Quelle surprise!
Through a friend I was hired by a literary agency - then started my own. I figured I could combine my promotion skills with my ability to write. Ten years later I closed the agency wrote my first book The Internet Financing Illusion - a tour of the Internet underworld. From there it was another leap to my first novel A Woman To Blame.
Originally it was written as a film script - n.b. this advice - do not throw out anything you’ve written. The book is superior to the script and more fun to write.
I’ve recently finished a second novel.
What is the meaning of my long and winding road? Can’t tell as I am not at the end.
I often wonder if I had not “gotten serious” about starting a career perhaps I’d have written more books by now. We’ll never know.
I do know that it is very important not to give up; not to give in to the opinions of others - even if they out-stature you - i.e. professors, parents, friends, literary agents are in that category.
Be true to yourself (a blatant cliche) and trust yourself (another one). If you do that you’ll never have any regrets.