Thursday, March 6, 2014

Blog Tour: Storm Watcher Guest Blog The Character of Names with Maria Synder + GIVEAWAY!

The Storm Watcher Blog Tour

Feb 19 - Mar 5, 2014

Join us for interviews, guest posts, reviews, and giveaways!

The Character of Names by Maria V. Snyder

Naming characters is one of my favorite tasks. When I start a new novel, I make a list of character names to use in the story.  I start with the main protagonists and I use baby name books to find names that I, not only like the sound of, but have a special meaning.  For example, for my male protagonist in my Glass series, I chose Kade because it means “chief hero,” which was perfect. And I picked Trella for my Insider books because it means “child of the stars,” also perfect (makes more sense after you read Inside Out!)

Once I choose the male and female protagonists' names, I go through my baby books and find names – one for each letter of the alphabet and one for each gender.  I don't like to use names that start with the same letters in one story because it can be confusing to have both a John and a Joe in the story.  Then as I'm writing, new characters will appear in the scene and I'll consult my list to pick a name that matches who they are.  I do create new names on occasion.  For example, Valek isn't from a baby book.  I imagined the character to be similar to Val Kilmer (an actor) when he was in the movie Top Gun – so I played around with his name and came up with Valek.

After having said all this, I didn't follow this process for Storm Watcher.

For Storm Watcher, I named the main protagonist after my son, Luke, and then I picked the names of the other characters from his life and mine.  For example, Megan is the name of the dog I had when I grew up.  Some other examples: Ethan and Jacob are my nephews (and Luke's cousins).  Mr. Hedge and Mrs. Miller are teachers in Luke's school.  Emily is my niece.  Jenna is my daughter's name and Alyana is her best friend.  Willajean is from a newspaper article I read and I liked the name.  The dog's names are from dogs I know and from when I worked at a kennel after college.  The kennel was very similar to Storm Watcher kennel in the book.  The lady owned over 50 show dogs that I helped to take care of.

I'm always paying attention to names in movies, TV, and in articles.  Also while traveling I've encountered some great names.  When I was in Gdansk, Poland, I saw a market stall selling name plates and I wrote down all the names they had displayed.  I was able to use most of them in my short story, Under Amber Skies, a steampunk tale set in Poland right before the second World War.

The best part of naming characters husband doesn't have to agree with me! 

Tour Schedule:

Wed 2/19 - The Book Monsters - review & giveaway
Thu 2/20 - I Am a Reader - interview & international giveaway
Fri 2/21 - Unleashing Readers - guest post & giveaway
Mon 2/24 - Bookalicious - review & international giveaway
Tue 2/25 - Kid Lit Frenzy - guest post & giveaway
Wed 2/26 - Sharpreads - review & giveaway
Thu 2/27 - The Mod Podge Bookshelf - guest post & giveaway
Fri 2/28 - The Windy Pages - review, interview & giveaway
Mon 3/3 - Teenage Reader - review & giveaway
Tue 3/4 - Read Now Sleep Later - review & international giveaway
Wed 3/5 - The Brain Lair - review & giveaway

About the Book:

Luke Riley is lost. His mother's recent death has set Luke and his family adrift. Even though his father, twin brothers, and their three Bloodhounds are search and rescue volunteers, they have been unable to rescue themselves and become a family again. The summer after sixth grade looms in Luke's mind as a long, lonely three months where the only thing he can look forward to is watching The Weather Channel. Luke is fascinated with the weather, but since his mother's death in a storm, he is also terrified. Even the promised 13th birthday present of a Bloodhound puppy fails to lift Luke's spirits. He would rather have a different breed-a petite Papillon-but his father insists he get a Bloodhound.

When Luke decides to get the Bloodhound from Willajean, a dog breeder who owns Storm Watcher Kennel, he works out a deal to help at her kennel in exchange for the expensive dog. Thrilled to have a summer with a purpose, Luke befriends Willajean's daughter, Megan, and together they plan how Luke can get a Papillon puppy instead of a Bloodhound. But nothing seems to work as they struggle with stubborn fathers, summer storms, unhelpful siblings, and hidden guilt. Can one little white dog really save both families?

About the Author:

Maria V. Snyder writes adult and young adult fantasy novels and short stories. Formerly an environmental meteorologist, she earned a Masters degree in writing from Seton Hill University; she is currently a teacher and mentor for the MFA program. Storm Watcher is her first middle grade novel. You can contact her at maria [at]

Author website:
Storm Watcher on Goodreads:

Fun stuff:

Read an excerpt:
Storm Watcher Quizzes:
Weather Facts:


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My Full Bookshelf Reviews said...

I hadn't realized that Maria V Snyder was coming out with another book! I am really excited now!

Mary Preston said...

I am looking forward to this. It's going to be amazing.