I “met” today’s guest on Facebook. I had been enjoying her books for years and was so happy when she accepted my friend request. With the advent of social media those names on the covers of books we love become up close and personal. We not only get to read about their struggles with writing and their joys of book release days but you get a peek at their personal lives as well. They truly become a friend you care about and so much more than a name on the cover.
This wonderful lady has had quite a year. She lost her husband, her best friend, her soul mate way too soon. One of the most terrible things anyone can go through. I didn’t know until I read this post by her on Cozy Chicks, just how difficult it was for her as a writer. I prayed for her as a friend to help her through her grief. She is still part of my daily thoughts because while I haven’t lost a spouse I know that when anyone you love passes away your life truly changes and their are many days we need to draw strength from others. I just never considered what she was going through as a writer. How important is is to have your “muse” there, with you, ready to take over and catch you before you fall.
I also never knew until I read that post how much my little review of her latest book meant to her. She generously sent me an advanced copy and I will treasure that copy always. I couldn’t wait to read it and then I couldn’t wait to tell everyone how much I loved it. Heck, I wish I could shout it from the rooftops! Stand outside of Barnes & Noble and make sure everyone buys it and the whole series! It is so good!!! I posted that review on the old blog so I will post it again at the bottom of this post.
Please help me welcome the sensational Kate Collins to Cozy Wednesday!
I am happy to be here!
Let’s Play “Name That Fictional Character!”
To me, one of the most important aspects — make that critical aspects — of writing a novel is choosing names for my characters. If I don’t get the name right, I can’t hear the character speak, even though I may see his/her face clearly in my mind. If that sounds strange to you, consider the impact a name can have. For instance:
This fictional woman is stubborn, self-centered, driven, beautiful, willful, Irish by heritage, a Southern Belle by birth, and lets nothing stop her, not war, not starvation, not even losing the man she loves. Who is she?
I’m sure you guessed Gone With the Wind’s Scarlett O’Hara. But just think how well that name suits her. Scarlett is a hard, vibrant red color often associated with anger or passion, yet it’s also a delicate, sweet-smelling rose. Doesn’t that sum up the determined, high-spirited, lovely, multi-layered and often thorny character we love to hate?
Next up is a TV character who is scruffy, witty, egotistical, fiercely independent, highly intellectual, addicted to Vicodin, and as brilliant as a medical Sherlock Holmes.
If you’re a fan of the TV series House, then you probably recognized its main character, Dr. Gregory House. House doesn’t need anyone in his life, or so he says, yet he offers a kind of shelter to his underlings, where, like little birds, they learn from him until he pushes them out of the nest. A house is a place unto itself, standing alone, yet offering shelter. Cool, isn’t it?
Or how about a real life example — superstar Oprah Winfrey? When I think of Oprah, I picture a strong, independent woman who knows what she wants and goes after it. Say her name. Doesn’t it sound powerful? But – surprise! When I looked it up, I learned that it means a fawn. Sounds completely contradictory to who Oprah is today, yet consider that a fawn is a brand new life making its way in the world, tentatively at first, and then with more and more confidence as it learns to run like the wind. Look back at Oprah’s beginnings. She was something completely new and fresh to TV and had to make her way carefully along until she found her strengths and speed. Even her last name speaks of being “of the wind, being free.”
The main character in my Flower Shop mysteries is Abby Knight, a short, feisty, freckle-faced redhead who hates bullies and injustice. I chose her name carefully. Abby/Abigail is a young woman who hovers between being a full-fledged grown-up and a fledgling. Her last name is what she is, a knight, ready to fight battles for those she feels duty-bound to protect.
Abby’s assistant, Grace, is a gentle but firm, proper Brit who is the calm in Abby’s choppy seas, her grace. Abby’s mentor, Lottie Dombowski, is a lot of woman, big boned, big voiced, and big hearted. Then there is the enigmatic, dark and handsome Italian-American Marco Salvare, an ex-Army Ranger turned bar owner/PI who is always nearby in case Abby needs saving. Salvare is a savior in Italian.
The reason I mention this is because I’m once again pondering names for characters in my next mystery, and trust me, it’s a slow process. Still, I love doing it. I love creating characters that move people, or touch their hearts, or scare the bejeepers out of them. And by the way, you’ll find all three in my brand new Flower Shop mystery, To Catch a Leaf, released yesterday.
Are there any memorable characters, real or fictional, with strong or unusual names that stand out in your mind?
Does it bother you if a character in a book has the name of someone you dislike? And by the way, if I’ve ever given a villain your name, I apologize.
Thanks Kate, I don’t know about the rest of you but she has me thinking about names of characters I love to hate. 🙂
As promised here is my review of Kate new book.
To Catch a Leaf: A Flower Shop Mystery
New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group
Bloomers Flower Shop owner Abby Knight is engaged to be married to the love of her life, Marco Salvare, and nothing is going to bring her off the cloud of happiness she is riding on, not even her future mother-in-law who is trying to take over all the wedding plans.
Abby and Marco do get a bit distracted when Catherine Newport, one of the area’s wealthiest woman, and Abby’s assistant Grace’s friend, is found dead at the bottom of the stairs by none other than Grace. Then Grace turns out to be the prime suspect because she not only found the body but is left a huge sum of money in Catherine’s will.
Before Abby and Marco can take back control of their wedding they must do their own investigation to find the real story, the real killer and save Grace. Then maybe life can go back to tea, scones, and bridal bouquets.
You already know I loved To Catch a Leaf but I truly believe this is the best book Kate has written. This story is multifaceted and complex and perfectly paced. There are twists and surprises along with the comfort of the characters we have all grown to love.
When reading about Marco’s mom trying to take over the wedding I had to pause and think “did Kate ever meet my mother?” While we are not Italian reading about Francesca was just like conversations I had with my own mother while planning my own wedding. I had a real feeling of Déjà vu. If you are a fan of this series you know Kate characters are so true they almost jump off the page as is absolutely the case in this installment.
I don’t want to give to much away.
This story is a must read!!
I wish I could give it 10 STARS!
If you have not started this series or are behind it is never too late to find out everything about Abby, Grace, Lottie, Marco and all the rest of the characters from New Chapel, Indiana.
Thanks to the great people at Penguin I have
2 copies of this wonderful book to giveaway!
U.S. & Canadian Residents
You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.
Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.
Leave a Comment for Kate for 5 Bonus Entries.
If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.
Contest Will End November 16 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”