One of the most interesting, and at times most frustrating, aspects of creating a new book is in selecting the characters’ names. Embarking on this search often makes me feel like Goldilocks looking for just the right fit. That name is too hard; this name is too soft… You get the picture. Coming up with that “just-right” name can take hours but I can’t write a character until I know his or her name.
On some occasions, the perfect name comes from an unlikely source: a favorite character in a book, on a TV show—or yes, even people I know. What other reason do we have exes or former crushes from grade school, if not to name our villains after them? Just kidding. I’ve never done that. I swear. *cough*
And because the characters in Cloaked in Danger derived their names from very different places, I thought I’d share how a few of them came to be.
My impulsive, headstrong heroine, has a name derived from two sources, and Miss Aria Whitney gave a big stamp of approval once I’d decided upon her name. Aria’s father is an antiquarian with a fascination for history, so I first went to mythology for inspiration. I hit gold in Ariadne, the daughter of Minos, King of Crete. There was a number of things that clicked for me, but mainly because the king put Ariadne in charge of the labyrinth where sacrifices were made to the Minotaur. In Cloaked in Danger, Aria must wade through the labyrinth of London society in search of her father, and it just seemed a fitting option.
Aria’s last name honors one of my favorite characters in any book, Whitney Stone. Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught is one of my most cherished historical romances, and Ms. McNaught was an inspiration to write in this genre. It felt like a fitting tribute.
Adam’s name is comes from the most basic, beloved name for man. The first man. But my Adam had his Aria, not an Eve.
Two of Adam’s siblings are loosely based on family members. Georgiana, the youngest sibling, is named after my grandmother, Georgia, and I imagine her personality will hold just as much spitfire. And Lily is the name we had chosen for our son, Connor, had he been a girl. But Connor was indeed a boy, and Adam’s bookworm sister inherited one of my favorite names, Lily.
Another of Adam’s sisters, Cordelia, was named after a character on one of my all-time favorite TV shows. When I thought of a young woman who was ambitious, slightly harsh and very blunt, this character instantly popped in my head. Once the name Cordelia stuck, I knew it was Adam’s difficult sister. Can you guess what TV show?
Aria Whitney has little in common with the delicate ladies of London society. Her famous father made his fortune hunting archaeological treasures, and her rustic upbringing has left her ill-prepared for a life of parties and frippery. But when Gideon Whitney goes missing in Egypt, Aria must embrace the unknown—armed with only the short list of highborn men who’d backed her father’s venture, she poses as a woman looking for a husband. She doesn’t intend to find one.
Adam Willoughby, Earl of Merewood, finds London’s strangest new debutante fascinating, but when he catches her investigating his family’s secrets, he threatens to ruin her reputation. He doesn’t intend to enjoy it so much.
When their lustful indiscretion is discovered, Adam finds that he regrets nothing. But now, as her father’s enemy draws near, Adam must convince his betrothed that she can trust him with her own secrets…before it’s too late.
“Cloaked in Danger has all the elements readers crave—larger-than-life characters, a vivid and believable setting, heart-pounding romance and just the right amount of mystery. Don’t miss it! It kept me reading deep into the night.”
— New York Times Bestselling Author Brenda Novak
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Jeannie Ruesch wrote her first story at the age of the six, prompting her to give up an illustrious, hours-long ambition of becoming a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader and declare that writing was her destiny. That journey to destiny took a few detours along the way, including a career in marketing and design.
Her first novel, a fairy-tale like historical romance, was published in 2009, but the darker side of life had always captivated her. So after a dinner conversation with friends about the best way to hide a dead body, she knew she had to find a way to incorporate suspense into her writing. (The legal outlet for her fascination.) Today, she continues writing what she loves to read—stories of history, romance and suspense. She lives in Northern California with her husband, their son, and an 80-pound lapdog lab named Cooper. She can be visited at www.jeannieruesch.com or found regularly on Twitter or Facebook.