Monday, September 17, 2012

Guest Post & Giveaway: True Love Way by Nancy Scrofano

Name That Character
Character names are an important aspect of any novel. They need to be unique, but not so outlandish that they stand out too much and not so boring that they are forgettable. If a character has an unbelievable name that shows that the author was trying too hard to be different, it can be so distracting that it pulls the reader out of the story. The title of the novel is important because it draws people in and tells them a bit about what the story entails, but the characters’ names are equally significant because they humanize the characters and connect them with the reader.
When I was writing my debut novel, True Love Way, and my second novel that is yet to be published, I visited the website for inspiration, the meaning of names, alternate spellings, and similar names. That is my go-to website whenever I start brainstorming a new story and begin developing characters. There are four main characters in True Love Way, and here’s how I named them:
Marlo Spencer – Marlo was named after the actress Marlo Thomas. Marlo is a nickname for Margaret, which is the name of my character’s great-aunt who plays a big role in Marlo’s life. Her last name was inspired by the first name of a character in Pretty Little Liars. I liked how Marlo and Spencer sounded together, so it just clicked.
Savannah Stavros – It was important that this character’s name be the same name as a city. (Read the book to find out why!) The name Savannah was on my mind because it was the same name as a character on the short-lived CW series Hellcats. I liked it, so I went with it, but at one point, I changed her name to Sheridan. I was going to call her Sheri, but my sister convinced me to go back to my original choice. I’m so glad I did. Savannah’s last name is of Greek origin since that’s her heritage, and it is the first name of Uncle Jesse’s cousin from Greece on an episode of Full House (one of my favorite shows).
Nik Stavros – Nik’s actual first name is Phoenix since he needed to have a city’s name like his sister Savannah. I still have a piggy bank that says, “I love Phoenix” that I got while on a family vacation to Arizona. During the character naming process, I noticed the piggy bank, and that was it. But I knew I didn’t want to call him Phoenix throughout the book because that would be too distracting, so I nicknamed him Nik. And his last name is the same as Savannah’s.  
Josh Hampton -  Josh was originally named Jeff. Then, I decided I didn’t like that, so I went to Think Baby Names and looked for other names starting with a J. I settled on Jared for a while, but then I didn’t like that either. So, I looked again and liked Josh. His last name is the same last name as Brenda Hampton, a writer/producer who created 7th Heaven and most recently, The Secret Life of the American Teenager. I was watching Secret Life, saw her name on my TV screen, and decided that would be Josh’s last name too. 
I really enjoy naming characters because when the name feels right, I’ve created the character, and I’m one step further along in the character development process. It’s so much fun getting to know new characters!

Marlo Spencer relishes all things retro. Old TV shows, classic movies, and even the collectible lunch boxes to go with them. In fact, she’s quite cozy in her Malibu apartment, surrounded by her treasured knick-knacks and vintage memorabilia. It’s her best friend, Nik, who doesn’t get her fascination with all that “old junk,” as he calls it. He especially doesn’t understand why she’s so keen to get back to their hometown of Napa when her high school sweetheart, Josh, suddenly returns after twelve years in Paris and nary a single phone call, eager to reunite with her. So, when Marlo heads up north to wine country to rekindle her relationship with Josh, Nik tags along, claiming he was already planning to visit his sister, Savannah, Marlo’s gal pal. Once they reach Napa, however, dreams of a blissful reunion are shattered as old secrets and past betrayals are revealed, leaving an unsuspecting Marlo to pick up the pieces. Can she forgive and forget, or will true love find a different path to her heart?

Nancy Scrofano is the author of True Love Way. She is a freelance writer, and she is the founder and managing editor of The Chick Lit Bee, a book blog that promotes and celebrates women’s fiction. Nancy is at work on her next novel. For more information, please visit
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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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