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THE ART OF ROMANCE–Character Casting & Character Names

Friday, April 15, 2011

Last week, I shared the original story idea behind The Art of Romance, as well as the Real World Template who originally gave me the idea for this story, chef Sam Talbot (pictured). As I worked on this idea the first few weeks after that first write up, I knew those placeholder names weren’t going to work, especially for the two main characters.

At the time, I considered casting the heroine with the plus-size model Kate Dillon. I very quickly realized she didn’t fit the image of the character I had in my head. . .but the name stuck. The last name, anyway. Which led me to Dylan for the hero—and the decision that he was going to be a younger hero than I usually write—only twenty-eight years old. Since I knew all three of the girls in the Matchmakers books had gone to school together, and that I didn’t want to make them all that young, I made the choice to try a story in which there’s a seven years age gap between the heroine and hero.

I like mining my family tree for both classic and unusual names. I ended up not going further than my grandmothers: Edith Ethel Bradley Dacus and Julia Katherine Caylor McLellan. Bradley has always been one of my favorite names—and while I considered a moment using it for the first name, I decided it was just a little too common a first name for one of my heroes. So it became Dylan’s last name. Then, there was my heroine. Even though, obviously, in my family Caylor is a surname, I’ve always loved the idea of it as a first name. But I wanted a relatively common last name to go with it. Not sure where Evans came from, but it just seemed to fit.

If you’ve been hanging around here for a while, you know that I use Real World Templates for my characters, which are usually actors or actresses, with the occasional model or reality TV personality thrown in. Well, with the Matchmakers series, because these aren’t characters/stories I’ve been working with for years—as with the characters of all of my previous books—it was a lot easier for me to be slightly more flexible with what my characters look like. After going through a total redesign of the cover for Love Remains when the initial cover featured two people who looked nothing like the characters, my editor told me that they really wanted to use stock photo images for the covers. And since I knew by then that they planned to focus on the heroines, with just a hazy image of the guy in the background, I focused my search on Caylor.

There are several stock photo websites around. The one I happen to prefer using is JupiterImages.com. I like using it because (a) I could sign up for a free user account (to be able to pull images without a watermark across them) and (b) because their search protocols are fantastic—allowing me to really hone my search for specific characteristics/keywords.

After deciding that Kate Dillon wasn’t the right template for Caylor, I ran across a gorgeous redheaded plus-size model on both Nordstrom and Lane Bryant’s websites. I was able to find so many images of her conveying a wide range of emotions, and she fit more of the kind of person I thought Caylor might be.

And then I started writing Love Remains, in which Caylor is a major secondary character. And I realized that I needed to change up Caylor’s personality somewhat to create more contrast between her and Zarah. And besides, someone who lives with her grandmother who goes by the grandma-nickname “Sassy” had to have some of that sassiness rub off on her. So, since I wanted to find stock photos that, maybe, Barbour could use, I went to Jupiter Images and did an image search for young woman–>red hair. After quite a bit of searching and refining (one person only, age 25–30—because their 30-35 year old tagged models looked more like 40–45 years old, caucasian, etc.) I ran across this picture:

There was so much life, so much personality—so much STORY—in that one picture that I knew she was the perfect template for Caylor. So I figured out which photographer/company had posted that picture and refined my search further to find more pictures of that model, which can be seen here. I decided I would still make the character larger than this model, but not so much that it would be obvious if Barbour decided to use more of this model than just her face on the cover. Here’s the description I sent to Barbour, along with several images of this model:

A. Main Character #1: Caylor Evans

      Age—35
      Occupation—English professor at a small liberal arts college, published author
      Hair Color—Red
      Eye Color—Turquoise (bluish-green)
      Hair Style—Short, sassy, “stylishly messy”
      Clothing Style—Trendy and stylish but professional/understated
      Overall Description—Six feet tall, size 14 (which makes her about “average sized” so not too skinny but not plus-sized either). Pretty, with a big smile and twinkling, mischievous eyes. Likes to laugh. Occasionally wears glasses, but not all the time.

B. Main Character #2: Dylan Bradley

      Age—28
      Occupation—Artist, art professor
      Hair Color—Dark brown/black
      Eye Color—Brown
      Hair Style—Curly, longish (not “long” hair, but not “clean cut” either)
      Clothing Style—very casual—when he’s teaching (only part-time), he’s in nice, dark-wash jeans and an untucked button-down shirt; when he’s not teaching, he’s in paint-splattered jeans and T-shirts; barefoot whenever he can get away with it.
      Overall Description—6’3″ and slender, making him look very long limbed. Somewhat “romantic” and “dreamy” while also being totally masculine.
      (and I sent them this image as a suggestion for the background image of Dylan, since I knew this guy would be somewhat blurred out in the background.)

So, that’s how Caylor and Dylan got their names and looks.

Next Friday: Another drawing for two more copies of The Art of Romance and a look at some of the secondary characters—including Dylan’s brothers!

88 Comments
  1. Friday, April 15, 2011 12:10 am

    I enjoyed reading this. I had wondered where you came up with the name Caylor, so interesting that it’s a family name.

    Like

    • Friday, April 15, 2011 11:01 am

      It’s a German name, and, apparently, my great-great-great-(or so)-grandfather either had trouble writing the letter K or decided he preferred the way the name looked with a C, so it was changed from Kaylor to Caylor.

      Like

  2. Friday, April 15, 2011 12:12 am

    Very interesting!

    I had a Debbie who I knew wouldn’t be a Debbie forever. But had very specific nickname requirements. After several failed name changes, she ended up as Becca [short for Rebekah]. She goes with Nick, short for Nicollo. Because he needed to be relatively unique Italian name and an acquaintance’s name of Nacona [goes by Nick] was a bit *too* off the wall.

    Now, I don’t have published books to worry about, but I have gone through model agency websites etc and pulled pics from them to use as my hero/ines. Found a great one for one of my heros that way. Found his heroine on a hair blog of all things. That’s one of her most obvious traits – long curly brown hair and green eyes. Googled and voila. The others I’ve used famous folks – like Michael Weatherly [as Tony DiNozzo for Nick], Charlize Theron [for Debbie turned Becca] and Paul Walker [as a guy named Ben for something else].

    I’ve got one guy waiting in the wings who looks a lot like Prince Caspian ;). The two girls in that book currently go by Lucy and Ethel. Lucy will likely end up with him. You can guess what she looks like ;).

    I’ve loved the books of yours that I’ve read and would love to read more =D.

    Like

    • Friday, April 15, 2011 11:03 am

      I have so many templates “waiting in the wings” it’s not even funny. (Have you seen my “Man Menagerie” on my Facebook page?)

      Like

  3. Daphne Webb permalink
    Friday, April 15, 2011 12:27 am

    Ha! JupiterImages.com. I use that one, too, for my character sheets. I like the way you come up with the names. Usually I just use whatever pops into my hyperactive mind at the time. Never thought about my family tree… I just might use the same idea! :o)
    Cool beans.

    Like

    • Friday, April 15, 2011 11:08 am

      The Caylor branch of my family is the same one from which I pulled the name Major for Menu for Romance. Other family names I’ve used: William, Julia, Michael, Benjamin, Anne, George, Susan, Jane, and so many more. I try to go back further than the current generation, but it’s hard, because I have such a large extended family (20 first cousins!) with great names.

      Like

    • Friday, April 15, 2011 5:01 pm

      I was wondering about Caylor too. And Evans works perfectly with it. Of course, I’m a big fan of the name Bradley. 😀

      Like

  4. Carrie permalink
    Friday, April 15, 2011 6:31 am

    Perfect image of Caylor!! That’s so close to what I had pictured! Can’t wait for TAoR! (AND RANSOME’S QUEST!!)

    Like

    • Friday, April 15, 2011 11:09 am

      It does help that the photos I used for inspiration while writing ended up being the model they used on the front cover! That way, I was describing exactly the person on the front of the book (except the eye color—I did tweak that a little bit).

      Like

      • Friday, April 15, 2011 1:41 pm

        I wonder if that model knows that not only is she on the cover of a book, but that you had used her as model while writing. I think if it were me I’d find it fascinating.

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        • Friday, April 15, 2011 1:44 pm

          What –you think I haven’t already started coming up with a story based around that very idea? 😉

          Like

  5. Friday, April 15, 2011 6:40 am

    I’ve always loved the names of your characters. 🙂 Funny how hearing what you originally thought doesn’t ‘fit’ but their new names definitely do!

    Like

    • Friday, April 15, 2011 11:11 am

      I know some writers who start out trying to find the most unusual names for their characters that they can come up with (and I’m not talking fantasy/sci-fi writers here—I’m talking romance writers). I tend to prefer old fashioned, but there was just something about these two names that not only fit the characters’ ages, but also their personalities and creativity.

      Like

  6. Mary-Louise Johnson permalink
    Friday, April 15, 2011 7:40 am

    Thanks for all the creative thinking. Now, when I read the book, I will be able to better picture the action. It brings the characters to life in my imagination.

    Like

    • Friday, April 15, 2011 11:14 am

      I love seeing images of templates other authors used when picturing the characters in books they’ve written that they loved.

      The other reason I like sharing these is because I’ve always collected inspiration images for characters—ever since I first started writing at thirteen or fourteen years old. From then until I was almost thirty and went to my first writing conference, I kept this little habit a secret—it was the part of my creative process I felt the most strange and embarrassed about. Until I went to that conference and one of the workshop leaders brought out her huge storyboard poster, which included photos of the characters’ houses and the settings . . . and the characters themselves. And I realized I wasn’t the only one who did this, and I fully embraced it. In fact, “character casting” was the first writing workshop I ever taught anywhere!

      Like

      • Friday, April 15, 2011 9:40 pm

        It’s a thing I’ve done since the early 1990s, when I started writing my first serious attempt at a novel. I kept it secret a long time too, at least from other writers. You helped me come out of the closet about it, actually. 🙂

        Like

  7. Emily permalink
    Friday, April 15, 2011 7:45 am

    What a great tool to use! I don’t usually use pictures of actual people when I’m writing. I just see them in my head. I like your idea of photographs, though, because then you’re seeing them in action, which triggers all sorts of creative fun, I’m sure. I’ll have to try that.

    Thanks for the giveaway! I love your books, so count me in!

    Like

    • Friday, April 15, 2011 11:17 am

      What I learned about myself in the process of writing these books is that I’m okay “casting” my heroine characters from models/stock images. As long as I can get several different photos of them in different positions and with different expressions/emotions, I’m good. But I need an actor/real person for the hero. I need to see him moving. I need to hear his voice. I need to watch the details of his face as his expressions change. So while each of the heroines in this series have been cast with models, each of the heroes has been cast with an actor/real person (Tahmoh Penikett in Love Remains and Alex O’Loughlin in Turnabout’s Fair Play, with Sam Talbot here being the non-actor amongst them).

      Like

      • Friday, April 15, 2011 6:27 pm

        I try harder to hunt up an actor who looks enough like my heroes too, more so than I ever feel the need to do that with my heroines (though I do look for them too). I like to be able to watch them in different roles, listen to them, pick up on those gestures and little quirks. But the difference between how I approach it and your approach is that there is a character fully realized in my head to begin with, and then I go looking for an actor who resembles them. It’s rare when any actor comes close enough that I can say, “That’s him. Totally. Perfect.” Usually it’s, “He’s almost Alex O’L, but with a dash of Josh Holloway (or whoever).” It’s great, though, to find someone who IS very close.

        Like

        • Saturday, April 16, 2011 12:29 am

          Even when reading before I started writing, it was always easier for me to picture the hero rather than the heroine—I guess because the heroine is really the avatar for the reader in a romance novel; we’re supposed to really be “inside the head” of the heroine and seeing everything from her viewpoint. Even when I read modern two POV books in which as much time is given to describing the heroine from the hero’s POV, I still never see her as clearly as the hero.

          Like

  8. Friday, April 15, 2011 8:54 am

    caylor is really close to what I pictured— except for clothing— I sort of saw her as someone who had undergone a massive physical change and was still trying to find a style— she still had old, holey t-shirts and sweats and had moments of good style ( like at the faculty christmas party); but wasn’t able to carry that with her all the time. I always thought she had an idea of what style was— but it hasn’t yet caught up with her.

    the woman pictured is EXACTLY how I pictured Caylor.

    i was really interested when you spoke to that one photo of “caylor” ( the one with the earphones— ) you’re right! WHAT A GREAT PERSONALITY AND STORY shining through

    also enjoyed hearing how your family names influenced the story.

    I envisioned Dylan to be slightly younger and blonder (for some odd reason)

    I tend to be more like Emily, above. When I write a character I can see their face in front of me… they just sort of pop up…. but I bookmarked that site because supporting cast is harder to draw upon and it certainly makes it awesome to see a face and go: “OH MY GOODNESS! THAT IS So-and-so!”

    awesome post. Iwas so looking forward to this one 🙂

    Like

    • Friday, April 15, 2011 11:19 am

      I’ve talked about it here on the blog a lot—I must cast my characters before I can start writing them. I’m so visually oriented that I need that concrete image before I can get beyond something like “blonde hair, average build.” If I didn’t have the templates, I’m afraid all of my characters would look alike, because I wouldn’t be able to differentiate them in my head with clear images.

      Like

  9. Friday, April 15, 2011 9:34 am

    I loved the way you work your characters. Their pictures fit their descriptions and they look like people we all know and love. That’s a neat idea.

    Like

    • Friday, April 15, 2011 11:22 am

      It was amazing to me how much the images of the models I picked for Caylor really dictated the character. That gorgeous, long-haired model from Lane Bryant and Nordstrom’s websites made Caylor soft-spoken, shy, retiring, etc. But as soon as I found that new template for her—from the broad smile, the uninhibited poses, the laughter in her eyes, and, of course, that hair, her personality underwent a major change to someone outgoing and engaging and confident.

      Like

      • Friday, April 15, 2011 6:29 pm

        It almost makes me want to cut my long blond hair short, muss it up and dye it red!

        Like

  10. Janis permalink
    Friday, April 15, 2011 10:25 am

    I read a lot of books, about a book a week and I have enjoyed all of your books. The diversity of time periods and life situations is refreshing. It gives me variety but an author I know I can count on for an excellent read. For this series: I like that Caylor is older than Dylan – so many people don’t do that and it’s real. I live in the Nashville area so it’s interesting to read about our community too.

    Like

    • Friday, April 15, 2011 11:26 am

      In writing this series, I discovered using a real setting like Nashville is much harder than using a fictional setting like Bonneterre in the first series—even though I’ve lived in Nashville for fifteen years now. Real cities are constantly changing. Business start up and close down all the time. There’s construction, new buildings, diverted roads, etc. I do like being able to feature local places—like The Frothy Monkey or Whitt’s Barbecue or the Pfunky Griddle. But I’m constantly having to stop and research those places: what are their hours? what do they serve (even if I’ve eaten there)? what’s the parking situation like? how crowded are they going to be on a certain day of the week? are they still open? if someone Googles them, is the first thing that pops up going to be a page of one and two star reviews complaining about how bad the service is or how dirty the place was?

      Whereas, in a fictional setting, I don’t have to worry about any of that stuff!

      Like

  11. Friday, April 15, 2011 11:14 am

    Loved the post, Kaye. Your “Man Menagerie” is a great resource, too . . . 😉 Caylor is such a great name – who knows, you may start something there! Your method of looking for pictures for your characters helped me so much when I started drawing a blank. When I could get in my head exactly what my characters looked like, I could literally write their expressions and movements. SUCH a great help! Can’t wait to read it! After loving LOVE REMAINS so much, I know I’ll love this one, too!

    Like

    • Friday, April 15, 2011 11:28 am

      That’s why I love the fact there were so many images of this model for Caylor. Sometimes, I’d start my writing time off by pulling up my images folder and just flipping through a slideshow of all of the images of her, and almost every time, I’d pick up on some new aspect of her looks or personality that would inspire me.

      Like

      • Kelly permalink
        Friday, April 15, 2011 11:45 am

        The “man menagerie” kills me!! Every time I see that I laugh so hard. It’s awesome you can use that for work! I was also curious how you came up with some of your character names – thanks for sharing.

        Like

  12. Marcia permalink
    Friday, April 15, 2011 12:45 pm

    How did you get them together in a picture? What fun. I went to the website and picked out two people and would love to see what they looked like together. M

    Like

    • Friday, April 15, 2011 12:48 pm

      I photoshopped them together (using Corel rather than Photo Shop—because PS is way too expensive).

      Like

  13. Friday, April 15, 2011 1:51 pm

    I love reading about how you created your characters–and I especially love their photos! Hot. I’m working on character casting for my WIP, but having a hard time finding photos for the secondary characters… You’ve inspired me to keep working at it!

    Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 12:31 am

      It makes something fun to do when the story just isn’t flowing . . . or when procrastinating. But don’t spend too much time on it—not so much that you’re losing writing time!

      Like

  14. Anita Smith permalink
    Friday, April 15, 2011 2:56 pm

    Interesting process – I love a redhead leading lady! Looking forward to your book! Also enjoyed seeing “what came in the mail today” in an earlier post.

    Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 12:34 am

      In the beginning, the red hair was almost an arbitrary choice—I’d come across the template for Zarah in 2003, so I knew she had dark, curly hair. So I decided that of the three girls, one would be a redhead and the other would be blonde, just to visually differentiate them from each other. But I’m so glad I assigned red to Caylor, because that model is Caylor!

      Like

  15. Pam Kellogg permalink
    Friday, April 15, 2011 5:35 pm

    This was interesting to read how you not only arrive at the names for your characters but the detail you give to your publisher about the main characters. I would love to win a copy of “The Art of Romance” and read Dylan and Caylor’s story. Thanks for having a book giveaway.

    Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 12:35 am

      Barbour has a full-on worksheet they send out to their authors to get information for cover design. In addition to these character questions, it includes questions about theme, favorites (flowers, colors, etc.), and setting. I always send along a PDF containing bunches of “reference images,” including photos of the models and, for this book, including that image of the guy standing at the easel they ended up using in the background. It was SO much fun to see that cover come back with the images I’d picked out!

      Like

  16. Friday, April 15, 2011 6:25 pm

    Oooh, I love hearing how authors come up with the characters! I know as I read a book, I sometimes see it playing out in my head while I’m reading so it’s fun to see who the one writing the story envisions in those roles.

    Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 12:37 am

      I love the features Rel on RelzReviewz does featuring bunches of different authors’ characters and what they look like. Sometimes, they look exactly like how I’d pictured them and then other times . . . not so much.

      I tend to do this kind of “casting” with the books I read. It’s rare that by the time I’m four or five chapters into a book that I don’t have that book fully cast with my own Real World Templates.

      Like

  17. Friday, April 15, 2011 11:00 pm

    You’ve shared some great creative ideas….and I love the thought of using names from the family tree. Thanks for describing the processing you do as you go along. It really helps in thinking about how to create characters.

    Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 12:39 am

      Sometimes, I have a lot of trouble with names. Images/templates are usually much easier for me than names. In fact, it’s rare that a character comes to me with a name already in place (unless I’ve taken that name from the same place I took that template—for example, William Ransome in the Ransome Trilogy was named after his inspiration, William Bush from the Hornblower series—but because my paternal grandfather’s name was William, I can just say it’s because it was a family name 😉 ).

      Like

  18. Friday, April 15, 2011 11:39 pm

    So interesting to leaarn the background and inspiration for the story.

    Like

  19. Saturday, April 16, 2011 12:32 am

    That’s fascinating. I’ll definitely try some of your naming techniques. Thanks! 🙂

    Like

  20. jeanniecampbell permalink
    Saturday, April 16, 2011 12:33 am

    glad to know that jupiterimages allows you to pull images without watermarks. i’m figuring out that this is where several authors have been pulling models from for their books! i’ll just have to see if i can put some faces to my protags….

    thanks for the info on your process!
    jeannie

    Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 12:40 am

      You can pull them without the watermarks if they’re for personal use only. If you plan to use them elsewhere, they must be paid for or downloaded with the watermark.

      Like

  21. Saturday, April 16, 2011 5:04 am

    Thanks for the stock photo site – I’ve been looking for a good one!

    Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 4:23 pm

      There are lots of them, but, as mentioned, I prefer the way I can narrow down my search parameters on Jupiter.

      Like

  22. Lynette Sowell permalink
    Saturday, April 16, 2011 8:52 am

    So far all I have to say is, “Yeah, Sam gets his book!!!” 🙂 And the heroine’s older than him. I love that–you don’t see it happening much in romance books, where in real life it does happen. Thanks for the stock photo tips…

    Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 11:22 am

      I love Sam. I wish they’d put Season 2 of TC on DVD or at least streaming somewhere. Right now, I have to settle for a few, very short video clips of him on YouTube.

      Like

  23. Saturday, April 16, 2011 9:30 am

    Loved your post. I too take naming my characters very seriously. I love unusually names and whenever I hear of one I write it down. I have a file on my computer with names I’ve composed over the years. Whenever I need a name for one of my characters I go to my list. I also found an authors website that you can click on a button and it will bring up random first and last names, males and females. I have a harder time naming my secondary characters, saving the unique names I have for my main ones. That site has been helpful in determining the other characters in my books.

    Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 11:24 am

      I find myself beginning to understand Jane Austen and her penchant for repeating names. There are so many good ones that I’ve used, especially for secondary characters, which I’d love to use for main characters—but I keep telling myself I’ve already used that name. Maybe after a couple of years, I’ll give myself impunity to use those kinds of names again.

      Like

  24. Saturday, April 16, 2011 9:36 am

    I look through my family tree for character names, too. I always learn so much from your blog posts. Looking forward to many future stories from Kaye.

    Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 11:25 am

      Thanks, Lisa!

      It helps that I’ve had several people on all sides of my family (Dacus, Caylor, McLellan) who’ve been interested in genealogy, so I have those family trees going back for at least ten or twelve generations.

      Like

  25. Saturday, April 16, 2011 10:24 am

    Kaye, your website is FULL of great information 🙂 Names . . . sometimes they are so easy, sometimes so hard to come up with! Looking forward to your non-fiction title THE ART OF ROMANCE – it’d be so cool to win a copy 🙂

    Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 11:27 am

      Names can have almost as much effect on who a character is, what she’s like, as the image can for me. I went through changing a character’s name when writing Stand-In Groom. And when I did finally change the name, the character’s personality, business acumen, relationship with her family, and even her outlook on life changed completely—and for the better! So, yes, names are very important!

      Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 11:41 am

      Oh, and Heidi, this is a romance novel, not a nonfiction book. 🙂

      Like

  26. Barbara permalink
    Saturday, April 16, 2011 10:58 am

    I really enjoyed reading the “behind the scenes” of how you came up with the names for your characters and then actually finding pictures of people that fit your concept of them. I think naming characters is such a fun part of writing!

    Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 11:29 am

      Usually, the images come first for me when creating characters. There have been certain names I’ve always known I wanted to use, but it’s just a matter of finding the right character and storyline to fit the name sometimes.

      Like

  27. Saturday, April 16, 2011 11:46 am

    I was fascinated with everyone’s comments because I’ve had my male MC (WIP) post on my blog a few times, and now they’re contributing to my ebook about bullying, R U Bullied? Also, Is it okay if I forward your blog addy to the gal I’m mentoring? The process you described would deepen her concept of her own characters. I definitely need to read your book and blog about it, because it’s closely related to mine. Mine is YA but I can use the characterization ideas for both WIPs. Ideas, not copied characters.

    Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 11:53 am

      Please, do feel free to send my website link to anyone you think would find it helpful. Be sure to tell them to check out the Writing Series Index (link just under the header at the top of the page).

      Like

  28. Caroline permalink
    Saturday, April 16, 2011 12:02 pm

    This was as fascinating look “behind-the-scenes” as it was an educational tutorial. I love to see how someone else’s creative mind works. Thanks for sharing with us!

    Like

  29. Saturday, April 16, 2011 1:17 pm

    You are sooo cool. I love that you have so much in put in your cover designs…and are so good at it! I’ve always loved your character notebook and I think you are just creative all the way around. Can you paint???? 🙂

    Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 1:20 pm

      Um . . . stick around and you just mind find out an answer to that last question in a couple of weeks.

      Like

  30. Saturday, April 16, 2011 1:32 pm

    I definitely enjoyed two of your earlier books and love the character elements, career backgrounds, etc., you’re incorporating. I stand intrigued, and now I will have to read–(partly because I’m a college English prof., among other subjects…).
    Well done and keep on writing great books!

    Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 1:49 pm

      Eek–well, don’t tell me if I got anything wrong! 😉

      Actually, I come from a long line of educators: my maternal grandfather was a Chemistry professor (at Louisiana College when he met my grandmother and then, after working at the Fort Smith, Arkansas, arsenal during WWII, at LSU for the remainder of his career), my mother is a former department chair and Vice President of Instruction and now a semi-retired adjunct Microbiology professor, and my dad, who was career military/government, had a second career as a computer science prof—now also semi-retired and adjunct. So I had pretty good resources whenever I had a question about the college environment! (Oh, and all of my years as a college student to draw upon, too!)

      Like

  31. Robin in NC permalink
    Saturday, April 16, 2011 1:45 pm

    I wish I could get into a creative persons’ mind just once! Your path to character names is so intricate, yet you make it seem so logical! Then to have the ability to make those characters come to life…Wow!! Thank you for your books & the chance to win one…Yay!!!

    Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 1:49 pm

      It’s a lot easier to make something sound logical in hindsight than it is when actually going through the process. 😀

      Like

  32. Julie Phillips permalink
    Saturday, April 16, 2011 2:00 pm

    He’s yummy, but then there is nothin youve ever written that I have read that I didn’t like, I feel like it has been forever since Ive seen you and would love to change that soon!! Can’t wait to read this one… I need some new readin material…I keep sayin Im gonna start puttin some of my thoughts over this life journey the last few years down on paper and just havent done it. See you soon!!

    Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 4:23 pm

      What can I say . . . I have a thing for yummy men! 😉

      Like

      • Julie Phillips permalink
        Saturday, April 16, 2011 6:41 pm

        Oh yes you do, but I knew that when we met…. that’s why we became fast friends… ; )

        Like

  33. Saturday, April 16, 2011 2:38 pm

    I really enjoyed getting a peek into your head. I can’t wait to read this book!

    Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 4:24 pm

      Believe me, this little glimpse is all you want. Sometimes, my head is a scary place to be! 😀

      Like

  34. Lynn permalink
    Saturday, April 16, 2011 3:10 pm

    Phew, I made it. It’s been a crazy weekend and I thought I’d missed the deadline. Yay me, I didn’t 🙂
    I’ve never really been a fan of faces on outside covers of books. I always seem to have a different image in my mind of what the characters should look like. This has really helped get me in a different mind set. Now when I read the book I’ll know what you were thinking 🙂

    Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 4:25 pm

      I’m not usually a fan of faces on the covers, either, but knowing that the featured character on the fronts of these books are exactly the image I was picturing as writing makes me very, very happy.

      Like

  35. Edwina Cowgill permalink
    Saturday, April 16, 2011 3:12 pm

    There’s something about Dylan that reminds me of Dr. McDreamy. Be still my heart!

    I like your useage of the templates. Thanks so much for sharing this info with us!

    Like

    • Saturday, April 16, 2011 4:26 pm

      It’s probably the curly dark hair and the two-day growth of stubble. Seems like that’s all I’m seeing on actors anymore–that unshaven look.

      Like

  36. Saturday, April 16, 2011 3:42 pm

    thanks for sharing how you came up with your character names and their faces and bodies to match! I’d love to read this folow-up to Love Remains.

    Like

  37. Jennifer E. permalink
    Saturday, April 16, 2011 5:25 pm

    I can’t wait to read it. I have loved all of your books so far.

    Like

  38. Saturday, April 16, 2011 6:46 pm

    What a fascinating “lesson” on how to pick photos to match your characters. Never thought about using the family tree to find names, though. That would be interesting. Hmm . . . my maternal grandmother’s first name was Odessa, maiden name Kark. Also interesting is using a surname as a first name. That could be fun, too. Think I’ll haul out my genealogy research. 🙂

    Like

  39. Dawn Dunsmore permalink
    Saturday, April 16, 2011 9:31 pm

    When choosing a name for my characters I usually always have real people in mind that are in my circle of influence. Annabelle Williams might become Annalie Wellington or Craig Seaman might become Creighton Mariner, a play on names. I may also take a name such as my own: Dawn, an Old English name spelled “Dagian” during the Dark Ages, and my last name, Dunsmore, meaning “dark hill” in Scottish Gaelic to come up with my pen name – Dagian Hill.

    Like

  40. Monday, April 18, 2011 5:36 pm

    Thanks so much for the chance to win!

    Warmly,
    Ann

    Like

    • Monday, April 18, 2011 5:38 pm

      The next chance to win will be on next Friday’s post, as this drawing has already closed.

      Like

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