Guest Post and Giveaway: Juliet Madison – Writer’s Craft Corner- 5 Ways to Choose Character Names…

Today my guest is the very talented Juliet Madison, author of Romagic Comedy, Women’s Fiction and YA Fiction. She’s not yet celebrated 12 months as a published author, but in that time has managed to release 2 Novellas and 3 Novels! Busy lady.

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Today also heralds the beginning of a new type of post for my blog – Writer’s Craft Corner, where we will discuss the craft of writing and hopefully pass along a few tips.

However, in celebration of Juliet’s newest release, The January Wish, which will be followed up next month with another newbie, February or Forever, here’s Juliet with some craft tips for us…

5 Ways to Choose Character Names

I love this part of writing, coming up with new characters. It’s like having kids but without the pain and sleep deprivation. Here are some ways to help choose character names:

1. Random, first name that comes to mind: Many of my characters are chosen this way. I simply choose the name that pops into my head if it suits the character and story. Not all are that easy though, some take a bit more work and consideration.

2. Ask on social media for ideas: Online friends are a great source of ideas, so ask away! Many are happy to help as it can be fun to come up with character names. You can brainstorm as many names as possible and then create a shortlist for first name and surname, or even get readers to vote on their favourite.

3. Hold a competition: Similar to the above, invite people to submit their choice for a name, and put all contributions into a draw for a prize. If you choose one of the suggestions, that person wins, or if more than one person has suggested the chosen name, you can put them into a random draw to pick a winner. Perhaps the winner can receive a copy of the book when it’s released, or a previous book.

4. Look up ideas: Use baby name books, name websites, the phone book, movie credits..etc, anywhere there is a list of names. Highlight those that catch your attention, then choose the most appropriate, or again, get feedback or votes from others to make the final decision. Remember to choose names that suit the character’s age… you can work out what year they may have been born and look up popular names for that year, so that your choice is suitable to the era in which they were born.

5. Find one with a deeper meaning for your story: This is an interesting way to find a suitable character name. Think of the traits your character possesses, or something meaningful about their heritage or the themes of the storyline, then look up names that mean those things. This can be a fun way of adding an extra element to your book. For example, if your character has warrior traits, he could be called Alex which means warrior or defender.

In my new novel, THE JANUARY WISH, I used tip number 1: the names popped into my head. Dr Sylvia Greene, Mark Bastian, and Grace Forrester. But now that I’ve written more books I’m finding I need to think a bit more carefully about names!

Writers, how do you choose your character’s names? Readers, have you ever read a book where you really disliked the character’s name?,

Thanks Juliet – great advice. I struggle at times with names, and change them often! I use the online registry for Births, Deaths and Marriages to determine which names were popular in a certain year or decade for authenticity.

THE JANUARY WISH

When Dr Sylvia Greene makes an impromptu wish at the Tarrin’s Bay Wishing Festival, it’s the most out of character action she can think of. Hers is not a life of wishes. Hers is a controlled life of order, plans and preparation…of science and research and diagnosis and treatment. But her past has been weighing on her mind, and decisions made long ago have far-reaching consequences.

A week later, the daughter she secretly gave up for adoption at sixteen arrives in Sylvia’s small coastal town with secrets that can’t be shared. Between feelings of guilt, gossip, and a growing attraction to an emotionally unavailable colleague, Sylvia’s well-ordered life is soon thrown into chaos. She is no longer alone, and for the first time she feels as if her world is open to possibilities.

They say be careful what you wish for, but, for Sylvia, the unexpected consequences may be just what the doctor ordered. 

Buy THE JANUARY WISH from all good ebook retailers:

Amazon – Amazon UK – Amazon Aus – iTunes/iBookstore – Kobo – B&N/Nook – GooglePlay – BigW ebooks – Booktopia – JB HiFi – ebooks.com – All Romance ebooks

Visit Juliet online at her website, blog, facebook, Goodreads, and twitter.

Juliet_Madison300dpi  Prize-blogtour

>> WIN! Enter via Rafflecopter below to win a $25 Amazon gift voucher and a coastal photographic print of the setting of The January Wish. Competition is open worldwide and the winner will be drawn at the beginning of February.

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Author Limelight and Giveaway: Juliet Madison…

Hello Juliet, and welcome to Author’s Limelight and congratulations on the release of your novella, Starstruck in Seattle!

Thank you!

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What was the first story you ever wrote?

I’m sure the very first one was written as a young child, but I can’t remember what it was, though I do remember writing a spooky story in grade three, called The Secret Coffin. As for my adult years, the first complete novel I wrote was The Life Makeover Club, which I’m currently trying to get published (watch this space, hehe). It’s contemporary women’s fiction with three main characters, and it’s sort of the result of my own life makeover… but that’s another story 😉

Of all the individuals you have created, do you have a particular favourite? What appeals to you the most about this character?

I grow quite fond of my characters, they become like friends (*turns around to check for men in white suits waiting to whisk me away to the nearest facility*). My favourite is probably Drew, the main male character in the manuscript I’ve just finished writing. He’s a famous (and very gorgeous) Australian singer/songwriter who returns to his small hometown to escape a media scandal, but finds something else along the way. He’s gorgeous (did I already say that?), caring, has an awesome sense of humour, and can stretch his body into many different positions with the help of his yoga instructor, who he just so happens to hit it off with (damn her). I would marry him in a heartbeat (*checks again for white-suited men*).

As for female characters, I had a ball writing Kelli McSnelly, the model-turned-middle-aged-housewife in Fast Forward, who is conceited in the beginning but learns a whole lot of lessons by the end of the book. She got mixed up in so many disasters and challenges and created endless amusement for me as a writer. 😉

I also have a soft spot for my character, Lulu the Love Angel, in my new release STARSTRUCK IN SEATTLE, because she is, let’s just say, out of this world, and tries so hard to find her way in a new and very important job where destiny depends on her.

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Has being published changed you at all? If so, how?

It’s only made me more excited about the future and more certain that I’m on the right path.

What would we find on your bookshelf / e-reader?

A lot of books from writers I know, and a lot of books I haven’t read yet! Next on my list is Hindsight (have you heard of it, Sarah?), Banish by Nicola Marsh, The Returned by Jason Mott, Blood Secret by Jaye Ford, also Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret, and some titles from the fabulous Escape Publishing. J

Lol, Juliet – My eldest son actually asked me if I had read Hindsight!

What’s the most unappealing thing you’ve ever eaten?

It was some sort of fish paste thing, when I was about eighteen. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but it tasted like rotting fish. Eww!

If you could be any of the following characters for one day, who would you be and why? How would you re-write the ending?


a) Scarlett O’Hara
from Gone with the Wind.

b) Thelma or Louise from Thelma and Louise.

c) Princess Leia from Starwars.

d) Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffanys.

I’d say Thelma, because, you know… Brad Pitt. But in the ending the car would drive off into an alternate universe where everyone is happy and safe and nice and there is plenty of money and food and Brad Pitts to go around. 😉

Of all the books in history, which do you wish you wrote and why?

Can I say Harry Potter? Such an awesome world J.K. created, I’d like to live there. Minus the dementors.

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If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

To pause time so I can have peace and quiet whenever I want it and get a book written in a flash!

If you could go back in time, where would you go and when? What is one thing you would want to take with you?

Maybe 1920’s Paris for a bit of glam and dancing. I’d bring my critique partner, Alli, because she’s setting a book there and it would help with her research. Plus, we’d have fun. Oh, and could I bring my iPhone to take photos and tweet about my experience?

Can you tell us about your works in progress?

How much time do we have? …I have a lot of works in progress and ideas, but as I’ve just finished a new manuscript, I’m at the stage where I’m taking a little break for a week or so before deciding what to do next. I have a new rom com (or romagic comedy) in the works, called Haunted Housewives, about a bride-to-be who takes her bridesmaids on a weekend away, but an uninvited guest tags along – the ghost of her fiancé’s ex girlfriend.

I hope to start work soon on my next women’s fiction manuscript, but I have two exciting stories and I’m not sure which one to write first! I’m also going to write a few chapters of a top secret New Adult project I’ve been dying to write, just to get it started and see how it goes. I may not write the whole thing yet, it depends what my priorities will need to be over the coming few months in regard to publication goals.

Finally, can you give us a sneaky excerpt from STARSTRUCK IN SEATTLE, please?

Sure! …

“Quick, blow out the candles!” Anna yelled. Karl turned on the lights and did as he was told, though it only created more smoke as the wicks released their heat. Anna opened windows, dashed into the kitchen and returned with a broom, and jabbed it at the fire alarm.

Beep. . .beep. . .beep. . .beep!

“C’mon!” she urged, jabbing furiously.

“Here, let me try.” Karl took the broom and aimed toward the button in the middle of the alarm, but unlike Anna it wouldn’t surrender to his magic touch.

“I don’t understand why it’s not turning off, it’s never done this before,” Anna said loudly.

“What? I didn’t hear what you said!” Karl’s eyes squinted and he angled his ear toward Anna.

“I SAID, I DON’T UNDERST–” Oh forget it. Anna dragged a dining chair over and positioned it underneath the fire alarm.

“Here, let me.” Karl climbed onto the chair and tilted his face to get a better view. He pulled at the alarm, opening the lid, then tugged the ribbon on the battery pack but it was jammed. He yanked harder and the sound abated as the battery pack burst from its socket and hit his forehead. Karl rubbed the spot with his hand, bent down and collided with Anna’s head as she straightened up, having picked up the battery pack from the floor.

“Ow!” they said in unison. The chair wobbled, and Karl toppled over backwards and landed with a thud.

“Oh my God, are you okay?” Anna didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. This date had turned into a scene from a B-grade slapstick comedy movie.

And here is the blurb:

Aspiring actress Anna Hilford might only have a small role in a leading television drama, but she longs to be dreamboat Karl Drake’s leading lady. Sick of being loveless and overlooked, Anna seeks the help of intuitive love coach, Lulu, from LuluTheLoveAngel.com to give her the courage and determination to follow her destiny.

But fate has different ideas, Lulu has undisclosed power, and Anna is about to realise that life happens while you’re busy making plans…

You can buy STARSTRUCK IN SEATTLE from all ebook retailers, via Escape Publishing

GIVEAWAY>> Juliet is giving away four prize packs of e-books from Escape Publishing until 10th October (20 ebooks in total). See the prizes on offer and enter here:

http://julietmadison.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/release-day-starstruck-in-seattle-plus-bumper-giveaway/

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Guest Blogger…Juliet Madison, author of Fast Forward.

Today I am thrilled to welcome my first ever guest blogger, the gorgeous Juliet Madison, author of ‘Fast Forward’.  I read this novel over a two day period, ignoring pleas of hunger from my kids, because I just had to get to the end to find out what happens!

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Juliet Madison - author of Fast Forward.

Juliet Madison – author of Fast Forward.

In the midst of a hectic blog tour schedule, Juliet has taken the time to visit us and reveal:

5 FUN FACTS ABOUT FAST FORWARD  

Thanks to Sarah for having me on her awesome blog today! I thought I’d do a short and sweet post on 5 fun facts about my debut novel, FAST FORWARD.

Fast Forward is a romantic comedy about a model who wakes on her twenty-fifth birthday to find she’s jumped ahead to the future where she’s a fifty-year-old housewife married to the high school nerd…

Fun Fact #1:

I usually come up with titles first, but when the idea for this story first came into my head I gave it the working title of 25 Going On 50. I knew I wouldn’t keep it, but find I need a title in order to write a story. When I realised the character was sort of ‘fast forwarding’ into her future I knew the title had to be Fast Forward.

Fun Fact #2:

Fast Forward was a spur of the moment New Year’s Resolution in a way. On New Year’s Day 2012 I was wondering what story idea to start next as I flipped through a magazine, and an article titled Fast Forward caught my eye. I’d already come up with the book title, so I took this as a sign and decided to start it right away and finish it as soon as possible!

Fun Fact #3:

When I was plotting the novel I almost decided to do the total opposite with the story – have the character go into the future that she wanted for herself so she could see if it was all it was cracked up to be. But I soon realised it would be way more fun to put her into a future that was the opposite of what she wanted.

Fun Fact #4:

Fast Forward took me four months to write, part time. I had the best time writing this book and the words just flew onto the page. I couldn’t wait to get the whole story down and get to the ending, so that propelled me forward (hehe).

Fun Fact #5:

There’s an awkward and somewhat dangerous underwear scene later in the book which ‘may’ have been partly inspired by real life experience. I’ll say no more. Read the book and see what you think! Some of you might nod your heads and think ‘Yep, I’ve been there!’.

If you’ve read the book, I’d love to hear what you thought was the most ‘fun’ scene. Leave a comment and let me know (but please – no spoilers, see example above where I just said ‘underwear scene’!)! If you haven’t read it you can leave any sort of comment you like (within reason ;)) And if you leave a comment you’ll go in the draw for a $50 or a $25 Amazon gift card – how FUN is that?!! 😉

You could also win a bonus $25 gift card by purchasing Fast Forward and emailing your receipt to fastforwardbook(at)gmail(dot)com

*Winners drawn 1st March.

 

Buy FAST FORWARD via…

Escape Publishing: http://www.escapepublishing.com.au

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fast-Forward-ebook/dp/B00B7VP6BY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1359544037&sr=1-1

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fast-Forward-ebook/dp/B00B7VP6BY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359630431&sr=8-1

iTunes/iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/fast-forward/id598139604?mt=11

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Fast-Forward/book-OrRmB3fD_EO0Fa_U2SBOfA/page1.html?s=9PVMHYQI4UaPhD6GnwrIug&r=1

 

 

Connect with Juliet online:

Website: http://www.julietmadison.com

Blog: http://www.julietmadison.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/julietmadisonauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/juliet_madison