My apologies for the late post this morning. This should have been up a couple of hours ago. However, I’m sick with the flu and slept in! At any rate, welcome my friend and fellow Lyrical Press author Stephanie Beck and her very interesting take on how the simple names are sometimes the best—even when your characters are far from simplistic.
STEPHANIE: Sometimes I like to use character names that I feel reflect the theme–it can lead to really cute situations and if the work needs a shot of sweetness, it works really well.
BREATHE: If you wrote in another genre, would it affect the names you picked for your characters? Why do you think this is?
STEPHANIE I tend to stay with old favorites for names, especially with men. I don’t want the name to be a main focus or possible stumbling point. I think if I wrote more fantasy or sci-fi I might indulge a bit on ‘out
BREATHE: What is your favorite character name—either your own or somebody else’s? Why do you like this name?
STEPHANIE: My favorite from my stories is ‘Ben’ from Teaching Ms. Riggs. Ben is traditionally a men’s name, but in this one Ben was the name for the leading lady and was short for Benfri–the character’s mother’s maiden name. I like the old school feel of the naming tradition.
BREATHE: Do you feel a character’s name affects the way you write him or her?
STEPHANIE: I think to an extent the name can set a tone. I would write a ‘Lily’ different than a ‘Mona’ and on the male side a ‘Brock’ is completely different than an ‘Andy’. Social perception of names and my own personal history with the names would color how I write about them.
BREATHE: Are there any names you absolutely will not use for a character?
STEPHANIE: I need names I can pronounce at a glance and can spell without having a cheat sheet. I really prefer a more simple name in writing so most likely you won’t find any Arabellas or Antonio or Kelohanilea or Demetrious or any of their 3-4-5 syllable cousins in my future works.
Excerpt from A Winter Tale With Marshmallows:
Chris leaned close and nuzzled the side of her face. She could feel him breathe her in, and she did the same and smiled.
“That’s not a good idea.”
Mona thought he might say that. “It’s a very good idea,” she replied. “I won’t beg, though, not for what you need to want as much as I do. A family, pups, I don’t blame you at all for hesitating. It’s a big order you weren’t expecting. And my family…well, I understand. I’m sorry I asked.”
She started to pull away, the heady feeling of lust and comfort ebbing, when she realized what it was she’d asked of him. He’d actually let her down very sweetly. The hormones and cocoa had gone to her head and made her much too loose.
Mona scooted to the edge of the counter, but before her feet touched the floor his lips were on hers, consuming them with a passion she’d never experienced. She dove right in, delving deeper into his mouth as he tried to do the same. Her belly was much too big to press as close as she wanted, but it wasn’t stopping either of them from doing their best to crawl beneath the other’s skin.
“Stop, stop,” she gasped, the willpower to pull away coming from a place she didn’t know existed. She couldn’t breathe, and more importantly, she didn’t want him guilt-tripped into something he didn’t really want.
“You don’t understand,” he growled and snuggled her hips to his erection, the heat and hardness penetrating through both of their layers of sweats. “I’m not hesitating. You don’t— I do want you. Everything feels right, but it’s not fair to you, so I’m going to let this be for now. I’m not pushing you away or saying ‘no.’ Oh, hell no. I’m just giving you time to decide what you want.”
He started to pull away, and this time she grabbed him, tugging him back until they were face-to-face. She was strong, but she also knew he allowed it. “Then no sex, no mating. But please come with me to bed.”
“And do what?” he asked suspiciously.
Her lips kicked up in a small grin. “Snuggle?”
He sounded incredulous, and she figured it probably wasn’t the offer he usually got. But then he smiled, and she didn’t need him to speak when he lifted her in his arms, taking her weight with ease. He started for the bedroom, then doubled back to the kitchen. Mona frowned at him when he motioned to the counter with his head.
“Your cocoa, Miss Renalds.”
She smiled and, still in Chris’s arms, took the warm cup of chocolate from the counter and held it between her palms. His grin as he carried her down the hall made her think he might be anticipating some of her treat—silly wolf.
Cocoa and a snuggle. She sighed with the first complete pleasure she’d felt in much too long.