Hello! Welcome to the second post in my blog mini-series: The Creation of a Novel, where I’ll be sharing behind-the-scenes information about my upcoming debut novel, Waltz in the Wilderness. I hope you’ll join me on this journey toward launching my story into the world and leave your questions and thoughts in the comments section below. I love connecting with readers!


Yesterday I wrote about one of the most common questions an author hears, Where did you find your inspiration for this novel? If you missed that post, you can find it here. Another common question is:


How did you choose your character names?


For Waltz in the Wilderness, I began with my heroine’s name and to tell you the story behind her name, I have make a confession. I started thinking about having my own children when I was nine years old. So I had a good long while to pick out my favorite names for them. (Thankfully, my husband was fully amenable to my choices.) However, it turned out I was not to be blessed with a biological daughter and when I saw the photo of our darling adopted daughter, I just couldn’t reconcile the name I’d chosen with her image. It didn’t fit and it didn’t work with the portion of her cultural name that we wanted to keep. So, what was I to do with this wonderful name I’d been carrying in my heart for years? Well, name a character with it, of course! Except, my carefully chosen name was Elizabeth Anne. Elizabeth was for Elizabeth Bennet, of course, and Anne was for… can you guess? Yep, Anne Shirley of Green Gables. The trouble is, there are a LOT of characters in my genre with the name Elizabeth and Anne didn’t quite fit my heroine. So, I decided to shorten her name to Eliza.


Next came Daniel, my hero. His story isn’t nearly so interesting. I found his name on a census record and decided it sounded like a good fit for the fictional character growing in my mind.


The rest of the character’s names came from a combination of census records and baby name websites with one exception. There is a very minor secondary character named Johnathon who was named in honor of my maternal grandfather that passed away when I was in high school and whom I still miss very much.


Now, the names for the next two books in my Chaparral Hearts series, well, you’ll have to wait to learn those, but they were chosen by members of my Kathleen’s Readers’ Club. So, if you’d like a chance to help name future characters in my novels, be sure to join today!


Here’s the full description of Waltz in the Wilderness:



She’s desperate to find her missing father. His conscience demands he risk all to help. 

Eliza Brooks is haunted by her role in her mother’s death, so she’ll do anything to find her missing pa—even if it means sneaking aboard a southbound ship. When those meant to protect her abandon and betray her instead, a family friend’s unexpected assistance is a blessing she can’t refuse.

Daniel Clarke came to California to make his fortune, and a stable job as a San Francisco carpenter has earned him more than most have scraped from the local goldfields. But it’s been four years since he left Massachusetts and his fiancé is impatient for his return. Bound for home at last, Daniel Clarke finds his heart and plans challenged by a tenacious young woman with haunted eyes. Though every word he utters seems to offend her, he is determined to see her safely returned to her father. Even if that means risking his fragile engagement.

When disaster befalls them in the remote wilderness of the Southern California mountains, true feelings are revealed, and both must face heart-rending decisions. But how to decide when every choice before them leads to someone getting hurt?

Ebook preorder links: 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Kobo

Paperback preorder links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million



Be sure to stop by tomorrow to discover why it took some men far longer than women to retrieve mail from the post office!



If you’re a parent, how did you choose the names for your children? Or what do you think would make a good name for a historical romance hero or heroine? Do you have any favorite names from novels you’ve read? Let me know in the comments below!



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