I have some interesting information for people who wonder about what goes on behind the writing scenes.
When writers submit work for traditional publication, or to editors, or exchange manuscripts among themselves for opinions, we let people know how long our books are by sharing the number of words in the manuscript. We do this because page count varies depending on what your settings are in your word processor.
My novella, Martha's Patience, is just under 20,000 words. Super short. Romance books cannot be considered novels unless they have more the 40,000 words.
The Social Tutor: 67,000 words
The Gentleman Physician: 65,000 words
His Bluestocking Bride: 76,000 words
The Earl and His Lady: 81,000 words
There's a definite trend going on here. :-) Because I just passed 80,000 words on my current work in progress and I still have a few more scenes to go!
For a little contrast, War and Peace is over 580,000 words long. Pride and Prejudice is just over 122,000 words long. :-)
Name inspiration comes from crazy places, and I find names I love EVERYWHERE. I actually have a spreadsheet with something like 200 first and last names from the Regency period. I've used that list a lot for characters. But sometimes, a name just falls out of the sky...
Or at least falls open in your lap.
My family loves used books. I recently found all the Lemony Snicket books for my oldest daughter to read. While paging through a used copy of The Carnivorous Carnival, I happened to look at the front page. There, in sweet little boy handwriting, was the most perfect name for a Regency hero...
I knew at once I must use it. I messaged my critique partners with the name. They all agreed it was perfect, but for WHO? One of them even threatened to steal the name of I didn't use it soon! (Yeah, I'm looking at you, Joanna!)
Then I started thinking about Rebecca Devon and her love story. Who would be perfect for Rebecca? What sort of man would fall for her?
Of course, it would be Christian Hundley, Lord Easton. A viscount. And suddenly, he burst into my mind. :-) I think everyone is going to love him!
What are some of the best names you've heard? What names would you use in a novel?
My most recent novel, The Earl and His Lady, features a hero who has been on my mind for a long time. I actually started working on a story about the earl, Lucas Calvert, four years ago.
Lucas has existed in my head for FOUR years. It took me a long time to get his story right. I always tell the stories to myself, mentally, over and over again until I'm ready to write them. I think about the characters, imagine their life story, then I put them into different situations again and again until something clicks.
Because this is my somewhat-unorthodox planning method, I often create and discard several plot lines and characters before I get it right.
I didn't know who Lucas was supposed to fall in love with until last November. He's been on and off my mind, in and out of plots, mentally interacting with all my other characters like a guest at a wedding reception.
After readers finished my first novel, The Social Tutor, several people guessed that Julia Devon would wind up with Lucas.
She came darn close to being the lady for him. So. Very. Close. Julia was a very natural fit because for so long she was going to discover new love at Lucas's side. That was the story I kept telling myself, anyway.
But then my imagination introduced me to Virginia, a young widow with two sons, in desperate need of rescuing.
TWO stories quickly evolved from there - The Gentleman Physician and The Earl and His Lady. They practically wrote themselves after that. :-)
Not really. There was some hard work involved. But I'll share more about that soon.
I write clean and sweet Historical Romance Novels, I live in the desert, I'm a mom of four, madly in love with my husband, and I love to read!