We’re so pleased to welcome first time visitor author Taylor Brooke to TNA today, and the tour for her new novel from Interlude Press, Fortitude Smashed. She’s written a great guest post to share, and there’s also a giveaway, so be sure to check out the Rafflecopter widget below for details.
The Significance of Names
I like to think that everything in a story has meaning. The setting, the mood, characters’ professions and hobbies, sometimes even the cars they drive. But one of my favorite layered details in storytelling has to do with the significance of names. It’s an interesting line to walk as an author when we begin to create our characters. I know everyone has strategies that work well for them, but for me, the best way to feel out a new character is to treat them like a stranger. I try to understand them at surface level before I get into who they are, what motivates them and why they make the choices they do on the page. I can almost always see my character before I know their name – like a person sitting in a coffee shop. One moment I’m alone with my thoughts, trying to get somewhere or do something, and a second later I’ve glimpsed a person I don’t recognize, but want to.
I saw Aiden first. I doubt that’s surprising to anyone.
After I see them, I have to figure out what they want. That’s the most important part of my writing process – desires, what a character will do to get what they want, and the lines they won’t cross. I realized as I started drafting that Aiden wanted to be loved. He was lonely and beautiful and torn between two versions of himself. Once I got to that point, I knew that I needed a character who could bridge the gap between one version of Aiden Maar and the other. I ended up with three characters, but one takes up more space in the book than the other two.
Shannon crept up on me, which is odd since the first scene I wrote was one of his, but it’s true. I had Aiden sitting pretty in the wings while Shannon presented himself to me shyly – it’s like we both stood there wringing our hands, fumbling over introductions. We got caught speaking at the same time, creator and character, saying no, you go. No, you. After I sifted through the preliminary who are you questions, I realized that Shannon wanted to love. He was restless and hopeful, but despite his desperation for newness, Shannon was patient.
I had Aiden Maar who wanted to be loved and Shannon Wurther who wanted to love. They gave me the basic tools I needed to write their story. But I had one thing left to figure out before I got started, and that was their names.
Named things bring a certain texture to writing. Sometimes a name is just a name, a title for the character to carry as their personality manifests. But sometimes names represent more than that. Sometimes they give the character depth and purpose. I named Aiden and Shannon after aspects of their personalities that develop overtime – both their weaknesses and strong points.
Aiden means little fire.
Shannon means winding river.
About Fortitude Smashed
After scientists stumbled across an anomalous human hormone present during moments of emotional intimacy, further research created the ability to harness the direction of living energy and pinpoint when two lines will merge. Personalized chips are now implanted beneath the thumbnails of every infant, where glowing numbers count down to the moment they will meet their soul mate. Fate is now a calculation.
But loving someone isn’t.
When Shannon Wurther, the youngest detective in Southern California, finds himself face-to-face with Aiden Maar, the reckless art thief Shannon’s precinct has been chasing for months, they are both stunned. Their Camellia Clocks have timed out, and the men are left with a choice—love one another or defy fate.
Aiden’s eyes weren’t as dark brown as Shannon had thought; they were flecked with slivers of amber, a little bit like stars, a little bit like candlelight. He blinked, villain hands resting on Shannon’s throat, thumbs making paths on his jaw.
Shannon’s tongue was useless now that it wasn’t between Aiden’s lips. It kept still through a stampede of fragmented thoughts. Aiden’s pale face was even paler, shadowed by the car that was shadowed by the night. Excitement battled with fear, and he didn’t know if it was Aiden or the enormity of the situation that caused him to tremble.
The Clock wasn’t wrong. The Clock wasn’t wrong. The. Clock. Wasn’t. Wrong.
Aiden’s pupils dilated. His jaw slackened, and a blotched blush started on the top of his high cheek bones and ended below his Adams apple. Shannon studied Aiden’s expression, bewilderment mingling with disbelief. He felt him shift; the cold was more present when Aiden swung off Shannon’s lap and closed the driver’s side door behind him.
The fluttering in Shannon’s stomach refused to stop. Adrenaline seeped to the top of his skin and soaked him in a feeling that reminded him of fear, but wasn’t as tangible. This must be how it felt to be surveyed from above—when an animal ran for its life with a hunter’s scope on its hide. He looked right, toward the only vehicle left—a sleek black motorcycle with thick tires, a leather jacket draped over its seat, and a helmet hanging from a handlebar.
Aiden shrugged on the jacket, flicked away a half-smoked cigarette, and straddled the bike much like he’d been straddling Shannon.
The Clock wasn’t wrong.
Shannon closed his eyes. Aiden’s bike roared past the still-dark Jeep, careened down the parking structure, and disappeared.
About the Author
After fleshing out a multitude of fantastical creatures as a special effects makeup professional, Taylor turned her imagination back to her true love—books. When she’s not nestled in a blanket typing away on her laptop, she can be found haunting the local bookstore with a cup of tea, planning her next adventure, and fawning over baby animals.
Fortitude Smashed will be published by Interlude Press on September 21, 2017. Connect with author Taylor Brooke at taylorbrookewrites.org; on Twitter @taysalion; and on Facebook at facebook.com/taylorbrookewrites.
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