Thursday, July 23, 2015

On Conversations: #author Joanne Guidoccio

Please join me in welcoming mystery and paranormal romance author, Joanne Guidoccio to Conversations today! Joanne is here to talk about her new cozy mystery, A Season for Killing Blondes. So be sure and check out the cover and blurb below!

Joanne also has wonderful guest post for us, The Right Character Names, PLUS one lucky commenter will receive a FREE eBook copy of A Season for Killing Blondes!!

Lisa ~
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The Right Character Names
by Joanne Guidoccio

“How attached are you to the name Anna May?”

Sandy Isaac’s question took me and six other members of the critique group by surprise. While I appreciated the suggestions I had received, I wondered about Sandy’s question. Anna May Godfrey is the villain in A Season for Killing Blondes. I had spent several years in Anna May’s company and wasn’t prepared to change her name.

Sandy noticed my hesitation and explained her resistance to the name. Said quickly, Anna May becomes “anime,” a style of animation often featuring themes intended for an adult audience. Two of the other members nodded while five of us merely shrugged. But Sandy’s concern raised several questions in my mind.

How would my readers respond?

Would they make the same connection as Sandy?

Would Anna May’s name suit or hinder her villain status?

A well-chosen name sets the right tone for the character and, in some cases, may even suggest certain physical, emotional, or psychological characteristics. James Bond flows well and suggests excitement and wealth while Scarlett O’Hara conjures up images of plantations and Southern belles. Short one-syllable names like Jane Eyre suggest direct and well-grounded personalities while longer, multi-syllabic names like Anna Karenina and Armand Gamache are often associated with more complex personalities.
I have a preference for certain names, in particular, the apostle names, Luke and Paul. Patricia Anderson, one of my beta readers, pointed out that I had used Paolo, Paula and Pauline for three different characters in the novel. Definitely overkill. I had no problems changing the names of these secondary characters: Paula → Belinda and Pauline → Karen.

While researching, I discovered the following tips:


  • Avoid names that end in “s.” If you give a character a name like Gladys or James, you will have an awkward time when you write the possessive form.
  • Use names to fit the period or ethnic group. I had no problems coming up with Italian names. For the older characters, I borrowed from my mother’s circle of friends. And for the younger crowd, I flipped through my yearbooks.
  • Limit the use of weird or exotic names. Many science fiction and historical romance writers spend considerable time finding unusual names that jump off the pages of their novels. When they indulge their creative freedom and create names, they run the risk of introducing names that are awkward and unpronounceable.
  • Watch the flow with first names and surnames. The first name should not end with the same sound as the last name. For example: Nelson Neufeld. But combining common first names with unusual surnames (or vice versa) can be very effective. Examples: Victor Frankenstein and Sirius Black.
  • Don’t worry too much about the meanings behind names, especially if you have become overly attached to your characters. Lesson learned: Research the names before investing too much time and energy in the manuscript.

When I researched the names of the five principal characters of A Season for Killing Blondes, I achieved a score of 80 percent.

Gilda—golden (appropriate for a nineteen million dollar lottery winner)

Sofia—wisdom (expedient cousin has street smarts)

Carlo—warrior (works well for the chief detective)

Roberto—bright fame (suitable for the well-known local lawyer)

Anna May– Anna means favored by God and, May is often used for girls born during the fifth month of the year.

BTW...I decided to stick with Anna May.


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A SEASON FOR KILLING BLONDES


Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the dead body of golden girl Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation.

When three more dead blondes turn up all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders. Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends.

As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.







In high school, Joanne dabbled in poetry, but it would be over three decades before she entertained the idea of writing as a career. She listened to her practical Italian side and earned degrees in mathematics and education. She experienced many fulfilling moments as she watched her students develop an appreciation (and sometimes, love) of mathematics. Later, she obtained a post-graduate diploma as a career development practitioner and put that skill set to use in the co-operative education classroom. She welcomed this opportunity to help her students experience personal growth and acquire career direction through their placements.

In 2008, she took advantage of early retirement and decided to launch a second career that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes paranormal romance, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.

Where to find Joanne...
Website:  joanneguidoccio.com
Twitter:  @joanneguidoccio
Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorjoanneguidoccio
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/joanneguidoccio
Pinterest:  pinterest.com/jguidoccio/
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/Joanne_Guidoccio





5 comments:

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Thanks for hosting me, Lisa :)

Mary Gillgannon said...

Lots of good points about names. My big issue has been making sure I don't have characters whose names start with the same letter or are too much alike. And since I write historical romance, I have to be careful that when I use a historically suitable but not well-known name for the main characters, to make sure it is something that is easy to remember. Even so, I know my first book, full of archaic Welsh names (Evrawc, Balyn and Gwenaseth, to name a few, was a challenge for readers.

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Hi Mary, I'm trying to wrap my mind (and tongue) around those Welsh names. Definitely unique! In my first novel, I had too many "B" names for the women, so now I double-check before I get too attached to the characters. Thanks for dropping by. Joanne :)

Nikki said...

Names are fun and challenging, aren't they? My writing group once pointed out that I had Jean, Joan, and Jane in a short story, as well as the main character Jody. Too many J's! But among a certain demographic here in NH--ladies in their 70s-80s, active in local charities--those three names are very common. I ended up keeping them and making a joke of the main character calling them all JeanJoanJane. It worked for that story. Good sources for names are TV/movie credits and phone books (remember them?). Credits will give you some unusual names, while phone books offer natural-sounding ones with local color.

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Hi Nikki, I like the idea of using TV/movie credits, especially for ethnic surnames. I agree that local considerations need to be taken into consideration, especially if the storyline is based in a particular community. Unlike some friends who use A and B to designate characters, I can't start writing until I have all of the names figured out. Thanks for dropping by. Joanne :)

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