Frequently Asked Questions
People often ask me questions pertaining to writing, so I thought I’d answer some of the ones I’m most often asked.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
I get asked about names quite a bit. Coming up with names for the characters is rather easy believe it or not. I keep a running list of names I like and think will work for historical romances. When driving, if I see a street sign and like the name, I'll write it down in a handy notebook I keep in the center console of my car. I also use baby naming books as a backup. For my hero's title in the first book, Caversham was the name of the street my husband grew up on. I liked the way it sounded and... voila! It’s Ren's title. If it’s a character I’m going to kill off or that isn't important in the story, I'll open a phone book, or... I have been known to use names of people who have ticked me off for one reason or another. Ask my former Starbuck's barista, Spenser. He frustrated me daily, so I killed him off in Lucky's Lady. I did give him a nice death, not a violent one, because he really was a lovable pain in the butt.
Why write a series rather than individual stories?
Sequels, or spin-offs, are my way of continuing to develop and enrich the world I created. If I can expand the world of the original story by giving other characters their happily-ever-afters (HEAs) I will do it. This also lets me give the readers an update on the existing characters.
How do you decide which characters to write sequels about?
Stronger characters will get their own books, others might be novellas or have their HEAs within the covers of another character’s full-length book. And sometimes, I’m just not ‘seeing’ a story at all for them. That’s just how the cookie crumbles for that character.
Where do you get your ideas for stories?
Every writer gets this question. All I can say is I’ve been known to get an idea from a song, a commercial on television, or even a conversation I’m overhearing from the next booth at a restaurant. It's usually something in the words, the musical notes or pictures that triggers my imagination and things begin to snowball. I start writing notes and compiling pics from daily trolling the of the internet. Those pics start to fit into a vision, like a puzzle. Then a chronology of events starts to take place and a plot begins to coalesce. From there I need to think more about my characters and their motivations, and start giving them physical traits and character backgrounds and habits, etc. I do all that stuff during the day and at night I write.
Will I keep writing about the descendants of Ren and Lia?
These first four couples have plenty of kids, so I probably could. But while I was working on book #5, I started getting ideas about a group of girlfriends who didn’t grow up so fortunate as Ren’s sisters and their friends; girls who were, well... not attractive and graceful during that age when girls were coming out in society. These girls didn’t come into their own in confidence or beauty until they were well into their twenties. *If* I were going to connect these, it might be through having the characters live in the village near Haldenwood, or have them be children of some of the staff at Haldenwood. I've already started to affectionately call them my "Ugly Ducklings," and you'll be seeing them soon.
If you have any questions you’d like to ask, just drop me a line at Sandy@SandyRaven.com and I’ll add it here!