Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Remember When . . . Your Name Appeared?

I have no clue what color-scheme will used on the cover,
but for purely inspirational purposes, I made a blue title banner ;-)
I'm on the downward slide (okay, so there's nothing slide-like about this mounting battle, LOL) of Circle of Spies, and having SO MUCH FUN with these characters! But wow, is there a cast of them necessary! I'm still at that point where I doubt my own ability to draw all my character threads together in a nice little bow by the end of the book--which is also the end of the series, remember--so I'm spending some time gnawing at fingernails over here (metaphorically, anyway). And making copious notes about "Don't forget to include Elsie at the end! Don't forget that Barbara needs to be involved in this! Don't forget to give Granddad Thad a role in this part!"

But one thing I'm having especial fun with in this one is using names of real people for my characters. I don't usually do this, but as my awesome editor found a few redundant names in Whispers from the Shadows (three Henrys? Really, Roseanna??) and we started plugging in names of folks at Harvest House for these mentions, it turned into a pretty fun game. She gave me the challenge of including "Barbara" in a book sometime, and I took her up on it...which got me thinking.

Marietta, my heroine, had no real female friends. Which can work...but I already did that in Ring of Secrets. I really shouldn't have another loner female character in the same series. So yes, she needed a friend, who could be named Barbara. But who was this woman? How does she enter the story? I decided somehow or another that she would be tied to the brother Marietta lost at Gettysburg, the one she loved above all. And then at our fabulous writing retreat, my critique partner gave me the idea of using a photograph to alert Mari to her presence in her life--a perfect solution, though that likely makes little sense to you right now, LOL. Resulting in, voila, exactly the friend I needed Marietta to have! And a lack I hadn't realized was there until someone issued me that challenge of including a name.

So then I had the brilliance (inspired by the aforementioned critter Stephanie Morrill and her next book, The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet) of including YOUR names in this thing! Well...your spy names. =) Not that I'm going to have that many spies, but every time I need to name a minor character, I'm pulling from that list. (So if you haven't left me a comment on my Spy Name Game with yours yet, you'd better!!) I'd already assigned one of the names to a role I needed, an innkeeper in Western Maryland. I had a decent idea of her personality and grinned when I realized she'd be saving my hero's life at the climax.

Then yesterday I had this realization. Namely, that all my bad guys are Confederates. Yet I don't want to paint all Confederates as bad guys! And while I know that I also have another Civil War-set manuscript here that is entirely Southern, where "Yankee" is the equivalent of a curse and the highest insult my characters can use, um...readers of the Culper series don't know that, LOL. And I don't want to come off as hating the South, which I most assuredly do not. So what I need is a wonderful, amazing, God-fearing, heroic Confederate character in this thing...and my inn keeper is just the one to play the part!

So when some of you ask me how I come up with my ideas...this is a new one for the list, LOL. Quite a few twists and quirks of Circle of Spies have come about solely as I contemplate NAMES, of all things! Who knew? So seriously, if you haven't already, create your spy name!! Never know how it might inspire me. ;-)


  1. Roseanna, I just wanted you to know that I started reading Ring of Secrets yesterday and am loving it! First of all, I love books set during the American Revolution time period. But your writing is also very good and the romantic tension - Wow! It will be fun to eventually write a review for my blog.

    1. Thanks, Carole!! So glad you're enjoying it. Ring of Secrets was such fun to write (though challenging at first to maintain that level of pretense in Winter! LOL). I appreciate you stopping by to drop me a note. =)