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Archive for August 31st, 2012

Guest Blogger: Cheryl Ann Smith
Friday, August 31st, 2012

What’s in a Name?

Did you know that there are five thousand two hundred and twenty-three common Regency Era first names? Okay, I totally made that up. There are probably more like a couple dozen or so each for both males and females. But why do I care? You see, the thing is, unlike contemporary authors, historical writers have an unwritten code that you need to stay within certain parameters when naming your characters. If you call your heroine Cheryl, for example, the readers (and editors) will be all over you, and rightfully so. You should at least use a name that sounds historical, even if your British readers gnash their teeth at your end result. All you can do is your best. If it sounds too modern then it probably is. I’m pretty sure you won’t find a single Neveah, Caitlyn, or Alexis in any Jane Austen book. It’s a guess, but I’m pretty sure I’m right.

Using Cheryl for a Regency heroine would be like calling a vampire hero, Bob, Fred, or Wally. Those names, though awesome, just don’t have the same punch as Lucian or Dante do when naming a neck-chewing hero. Wally, Lord of the Vampires. Hmmm. You decide.

Then there are terms of endearment. Some affectionate Regency terms are Darling, Dearest, and Love. You won’t hear a historical hero calling his heroine Love Bunny, Snooky Bear, or Sugar Lumps. Again, just a guess. Can you imagine an alpha duke making kissy lips while calling his duchess Snooky Bear? Um, no. Nor can I imagine a duchess calling her duke a Hot Hunk of Burning Love. Though it would be pretty darn funny if she did!

I guess the point I’m trying to get to is that even a secondary character might be a hero or heroine in a future book. So choose their names wisely. When my readers started clambering for a redemption story staring Hortense from book two of my Brides series, I probably should have thought further ahead when I named her. Huh. Do you think I could have gotten away with calling her Sydney?

Notorious bad boy Simon Harrington, third in line for his uncle’s title, has finally conceded to settling down and finding a noble wife.  Then he stumbles across a courtesan in peril on a dark London street, and his life takes an unexpected turn.  Fearing for her safety, he brings the mysterious beauty to his cousin’s School for Brides, where compromised women are taught how to be suitable wives.  But he finds it impossible simply to walk away.

A poor country squire’s daughter, Laura Precott was promised in marriage to the shadowy Earl of Westwick.  Instead of making her his wife, however, he betrayed her and forced her to become his mistress.  When she learned of his plan to sell her at auction, she fled for her life.

Simon knows he must forget his feelings for such an unsuitable woman or risk disgracing his family.  But when Laura’s former lover turns out to have been murdered the very night of her escape, suspicion falls squarely on Laura.  Now it is up to Simon to prove her innocence even if it leads to his downfall…   Barnes & Noble