Saturday, 26 November 2011


It's amazing how things work out with ideas for pocket novels sometimes. I'd had an idea about writing a novella about a young couple who'd been childhood sweethearts (I mean real childhood as in them being about ten years old at the time) but were separated for some mysterious reason then reunited as adults where they solve a crime together (and fall in love as grown ups of course). I'd already decided that the hero was going to be inspired by young actor, Iwan Rheon, pictured above, who has the most wonderful innocent eyes. He'll probably be the youngest hero I've ever written about, at 26 or 27. Younger than my own son ... eeek!

Anyway, I hadn't thought of the hero and heroine's names yet, and with me, until I have a name, I don't have a character or story. So when I went to bed the other night I started tapping a few ideas into my iPad to save what I'd thought of so far. I got as far as 'reunited'. In fact I only got as far as 'reu', and the iPad decided to auto-complete it as 'Reuben'. I knew in that instant that Reuben was going to be the name of my hero. It told me so much about who he was and where he came from. As soon as I had his name, the heroine's name popped into my head. Kate. Reuben and Kate. They sound so good together. I haven't decided yet whether to shorten Reuben to Rube, but I think I prefer Reuben. Then that led to more ideas about the story - which obviously I'm not going to give away here!

But I post this to illustrate how sometimes serendipity plays a major part in writing.


  1. Know what you mean, Sally. My heroes are often quite young but this guy looks cute and a lovely name. I did a sort of 'reunited story (I'll be There For You)which threw them together into an adventure and mystery set in Spain. My son lives there and we chatted about the location by using skype and looking up websites simultaneously. Good to get his input about weather etc. Bit of serendipity there, I guess. Chrissie L.

  2. It's odd, Chrissie, but as I married an older man (hubby is 15 years older than I am) I tend to put my heroines with older men, though in print I've never gone more than ten years older. It'll feel strange to write about a couple who are the same age. I bet I'll still end up making him about a year older.

  3. BTW, love the title of that story. Chrissie, and the events which led to it. I often use song titles too, but for this one I thought of something like 'Remember September' as a working title(which is also a paraphrase for a song, now I come to think of it). Altogether now 'try to remember the kind of September...'

  4. I do so agree about the names, Sally. Please don't shorten it to Rube! Of course, you can if you want to - lol
    The song: try to remember the kind of September - takes me back. Beautiful.

  5. No, I won't use Rube! The more I think of it, the worse it sounds. Reuben is just lovely and it occurs to me that I can set the story in practically any era and it will work. I haven't yet decided if it's going to be contemporary or historical. I'm sorely tempted to let Reuben meet Mrs. Oakengate... ooh, now there's a thought...

  6. Hello from Spain!
    We´ve already been in touch, Sally! I´ve got some pages left of A COLLECTOR OF HEARTS and I just began to read it on thursday (Remember I am spanish and I can´t read English that fast) LOL

    Mrs Oakengate character is really lovely, why dont you write a novel about her young years???
    It would be great.

    I know I am not a writer, but I enjoy reading all your comments in this blog. If any of you plan to write a novel based on Spain please ask me any questions you have?

    Sorry for my grammar mistakes if there are some.
    All the best

  7. Ah...character names. Sometimes they are as hard to come by as finding the right title for your novel. But how right you are, Sally, that a story doesn't come together until you know your characters, which you can't do until you know their names (at least I can't)
    I keep a file of names with different sections for different regions/countries/times in history etc, scanning newspapers and magazines, lists of TV credits and radio broadcasts, jotting down anything of interst as and when it turns up.
    Hi Chrissie, Interesting to read how you researched the Spanish background for your story. Isn't Skype marvellous, not to mention sons...

  8. Moises, how lovely to see you here! Funnily enough, My True Companion, which comes out in large print in January (and will be on Kindle soon after) was Mrs Oakengates first foray into meddling with my heroine's romances! She's not very nice in that one, though she does improve. And your grammar is fantastic to say English is your second language . I'm very grateful for your feedback and that you're enjoying my stories.

    Rena, once I've got a first name, I often go online and Google the English Town Gazeteer for surnames, then pick the most unusual ones. In fact that's where Mrs Oakengate's came from. I've also used it to create towns in America for my western romances, figuring that many places in America were named after European towns and cities.

  9. Nice one, Sally, that's a really great idea. Now why didn't I think of that?

  10. Hi Rena,
    I so agree .. life would be much less interesting without skype (and sons!) Worked it overtime yesterday chatting to son and grandson in Spain. Welcome to all the new names I'm seeing here. Love Chrissie (still posting as anonymous!)

  11. Sally, I totally agree about needing to know characters' names and titles before writing each novel. I've been developing stories for each of 3 trilogies so I needed 18 sets of H/H names and 9 titles. But once I have those and I develop the characters' back stories, it all falls into place.

    I often choose euphonic aboriginal names for my towns. e.g. my home town is actually Murtoa but in Loving Lucy I changed it to native-sounding Mundarra to give a feel of Australia to the story.

    BTW, I play "Try to Remember" on my electronic keyboard. Lovely song...

    "Soapfan" I was in Spain and Portugal earlier this year for a few weeks and LOVED Seville. :)