Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Author Guestpost: Resa Nelson

Resa Nelson has been selling fiction professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop.

Resa was also the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years and was a contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Her first novel, The Dragonslayer’s Sword, was nominated for the Nebula Award and was also a Finalist for the EPPIE Award. This medieval fantasy novel is based on a short story first published in the premiere issue of Science Fiction Age magazine and ranked 2nd in that magazine's first Readers Top Ten Poll. The Dragonslayer's Sword is Book 1 in her 4-book Dragonslayer series. Book 2, The Iron Maiden, was published last December, Book 3 was published in May, and the final book in the series is scheduled for publication in November.
Resa's standalone novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is a fantasy/mystery/thriller about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. Midwest Book Review gave this book a 5-star review, calling it "a riveting fantasy, very highly recommended."
Resa lives in Massachusetts.

"How I Name My Characters"
by Resa Nelson

The way I name my characters changes all the time. Sometimes I name characters after real people I know simply because I like their names. Sometimes I want to do something very specific with a character’s name to give it meaning, even if I’m the only one who understands that meaning. And sometimes I choose names randomly. Here’s an example of how I named some of the most important characters in my 4-book Dragonslayer series.

Because my series takes place in a world that’s parallel to ours but inspired by the beginning of the Viking era, I wanted my female hero to have a name that most people would recognize as a classic Scandinavian name. I’ve always like the name Astrid, so I chose that name pretty quickly.

Her sweetheart is a dragonslayer. At the time I wrote the short story, I had dated someone whose name I liked very much. So I changed it a little bit and came up with DiStephan. My own boyfriend didn’t last, but I’m glad he inspired the name of one of my favorite characters!

When DiStephan goes missing, the village hires a stranger to replace him as the dragonslayer. The story was inspired by a bad experience I had with a very powerful co-worker (a man with a wife and two young children) who propositioned me. I didn’t want to use his name, but I wanted the character I created from that experience to have a name with the same kind of rhythm and cadence. I thought about that one for a long time. I kept trying different options. Finally, I came up with Taddeo, which is pronounced TAD-ee-oh.

When Taddeo propositions Astrid, she turns to her closest friend for help. This was probably the easiest decision to make. When I wrote the short story I simply named that character after one of my own friends whose name I like very much: Mauri. This is where fiction reflects real life. When I was propositioned at work, I turned to my real-life friend Mauri for advice, and she gave me insight that helped me a great deal. I’m still grateful for that advice!

The way I named one character (a blacksmith who plays an important role in Astrid’s life) goes back to a real-life experience that happened many years ago. I went with a group of friends to see another friend act in a play. Before the play we all gathered to wish our friend good luck, and someone jokingly suggested that someday I might name a character in one of my books after our friend’s role in the play that night. He laughed

and said that his role didn’t have a name. He was listed in the playbill as a random forester. We all laughed and someone (maybe me) said I could name a character “Random” – and in The Dragonslayer’s Sword, I did! I changed the spelling to Randim, but that’s where his name comes from!

If you’d like to sample my work for free, you can download a free “mini” ebook called “Dragonslayer Stories” from my website at http://www.resanelson.com/files. No cost, no obligation, nothing to sign up for, no information gathering. I like giving away samples of my work so you can decide for yourself whether you like it or not. Also, you can enter to win signed copies of the first three novels in my Dragonslayer series on GoodReads at this link: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/27323-the-stone-of-darkness. If you like getting a discount, you can get 10% off my books (ebooks and paperbacks) when you buy them from my publisher (www.mundania.com). Enter this code at checkout: MP10.


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There is lot of spam lately at the posts, so for a while i will put up the comment moderation. Sorry for that, i really don't like it but i thought it might stop the spamming. It will be down soon enough! Thanks a lot :)

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