LOVE AT THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN
A YA ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY
Stars and Stone Books
Featuring: M.T. DeSantis, A.E. Hayes, Serena Jayne, Cara McKinnon, Mary Rogers, and Kylie Weisenborn.
For our blog tour, we asked our authors to talk about their characters. Did they have a favorite? A least favorite? How did they pick the names? Was it hard or fun?
M.T. DeSantis, “Be Null, My Heart”
Jaqi, Emma’s best friend, is my favorite. She’s the confident person I wish I’d been in high school, and she’s not afraid to call people “bat dung,” instead of something with more curses in it. Claire, the popular girl, is my least favorite. Yes, I know, disliking the popular girl who treats the main character like crap, how original. But I wrote her to be unlikable. So, I did a good job, at least from my perspective.
As for my character’s actual names, I just picked names I like. Emma’s parents and uncle, though, have superhero names, too. Those were a lot of fun.
-Styrene (Emma’s dad – manipulates plastic) – I actually took this name straight from the plastics world (thanks, Google). Basically, I searched for types of plastic, read a list on Wikipedia, and liked Polystyrene, minus the poly. I also learned about thermoplastics, if Wikipedia is accurate on the subject. If you liked high school chemistry but don’t remember much of it, check it out. It’s cool. •
-Belvedere (Emma’s mom, heightened senses) – She’s essentially the watchdog of the group. Belvedere is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “a summer house or open-sided gallery, typically at rooftop level, commanding a fine view.” I kind of see her as the one standing on a rooftop and keeping an eye out. Also, the word belvedere sounds badass. •
-Remberandt (Emma’s uncle, memory manipulation) This one was the most fun. Emma’s uncle has the ability to manipulate memories, hence the “rember” part of this name. When I was writing, I thought about how the word “remember” would combine nicely with Rembrandt, the artist. Thus, Remberandt was born—the memory manipulating crime fighter who likes to spew random art facts at people.
A.E. Hayes, “Her First Fever”
I love Madeline – she is strong and independent, and she doesn’t rely on a boy to help her fulfill her dreams. She can be her own person without needing to date, but she can still open up to love. However, I identify with Johnny’s rough exterior and smart-ass banter, even if he is not always likeable. But “not always likeable” doesn’t equal “least favorite” to me. I don’t think I have a least favorite, to be honest: everyone in this story serves a purpose, and no one is specifically awful as a human being.
Since “Her First Fever” is such a personal story for me, I used two names I know very well, as they are… well, the easiest way to explain it is that Madeline and Johnny are friends and protectors for me, and they serve the same purpose for and to one another in the story. My memoir, Shattered: Memoirs of an Amnesiac as well as my follow-up collection of essays, Villain: The Voices of Shattered reveal a bit more about who Madeline and Johnny really are in real life.
Serena Jayne, “Dead Man’s Party”
Xander’s parents are my least favorite characters, because they put their dreams ahead of their son’s. Shay and Xander are my favorites. I love that their relationship evolves from a strong friendship.
Xander’s first name was inspired by the character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. His last name was chosen to show his Russian roots. Shay’s name fit with her character, especially paired with her last name, Sinclair. Sometimes I change the names of characters during the course of writing, but Xander and Shay’s names stuck.
Cara McKinnon, “Three Jagged Pieces”
I don’t have favorites. All three of my protagonists are special to me in different ways. But least favorite would be Sam’s parents. There’s nothing I hate more in this world than people who use love as a weapon for control, guilt, and shame.
Character names either come to me in a fit of genius or are like pulling teeth. There’s no in-between. Noah and Sam were easy to name. Ava was much harder. I spent probably two or three hours going over popular baby names from 2000 until I settled on Ava.
Mary Rogers, “The Crayon Thief”
My favorite is Randall! By far, Randy. I mean, when you’re writing a romance hero, you want to fall a little in love with him yourself, don’t you? Randy has all the requisite romance hero traits, but he’s also someone who is sensitive, and kind. Not afraid of people who are not like him.
I was on the phone with my friend Susan when I was thinking of a name for my character who became—wait for it—Susan. Yeah, I’m brilliant like that. Randall came from an article I read that morning, and Tessa is just a fun name. Cindy came from another article, and Mueller—well, you may have heard that name recently.
Kylie Weisenborn, “Now I Am”
Well it’s pretty easy since I only have two characters – Annalyn is my favorite. And she was actually much weirder and heavily accented in my first draft, so you’ll see I toned her down a bit.
There’s not too much method to my madness when it comes to naming characters, I pick mostly based on how they sound out loud and how easily readable they are. I changed Carter’s name a bunch of times (he was Gavin for a long time), but Annalyn’s was pretty easy for me to decide on.
It's never easy to go through the fraught transition into adulthood, but the teens in this anthology have more to deal with than most: super powers, magic, illness, and prejudice against sexual orientation and gender identity. Fortunately, they all find love at the edge of seventeen.
M.T. DeSantis – “Be Null, My Heart” Teen love…with superpowers.
A.E. Hayes – “Her First Fever” Can a smart, stubborn girl look past the things she desires the most in life to help out her annoying, enigmatic biology partner – even if helping him comes with an emotional price?
Serena Jayne – “Dead Man’s Party” Despite formidable evidence to the contrary, Xander was magic.
Cara McKinnon – “Three Jagged Pieces” Boy meets girl meets boy.
Mary Rogers – “The Crayon Thief” The last time they talked, he stole her crayon. Now he wants to take her on a date. But why?
Kylie Weisenborn – “Now I Am” Annalyn is dead…so what is she waiting for?
~And check out the anthology website