I spend a long time searching for appropriate names for my main characters. I try to stay away from hard-to-pronounce names and I like the first and last names to have a certain cadence when said together. I have lists of names that I’ve gathered over time and of course, the internet is a great resource. In some of my stories, the character’s name even forms part of the plot.
2.What sort of research did you do for your story, and was there an exceptionally interesting tidbit you knew you had to include? For Every Hidden Thing, I interviewed a realtor, and although informative, not very exciting. However, I asked to speak to a detective at my local police station. That proved to be an eye-opener. I learned that my initial plan to have Jo find skeletons of young children on the property was not going to work. Sure, the discovery would have added to the suspense value, but as a crime scene, the property would have been off limits to her for a long time, months even. Although I couldn’t add that tidbit to the story, my idea to have Jo working in the house during the investigation would have been a big no-no.
3.Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym? Why or why not? Before my first novel was published, I did think about using a pseudonym because my last name is unusual. Sometimes people are hesitant to pronounce it. Gory? Goray? Gore? Yup. Gory is correct, as in gruesome and grisly! I thought Valerie Gray sounded nice, but I decided to stick with my real name which includes my maiden name, Valerie Massey Goree.
I have to make a concerted effort to keep my heroines from acting this way. One day, I’m going to write a story about a heroine who has OCD. I’ll describe how the characteristics negatively affected her life and what compensations she had to make. Of course, this will be based on my experiences.
Soon after our move, my husband was diagnosed with cancer, and he passed away two years later. I returned to Texas, but it was a while before I felt like delving into a fictitious world. When I was ready to write again, I briefly considered changing the setting back to Texas, but left Jo and Flynn in Washington.
In my original plot, Flynn, a former Marine would have suffered a severe injury while deployed, maybe even an amputation. So many veterans were being depicted in novels as having PTSD losing a limb and I wanted something different for my hero. I had recently experienced an injury that left me with nerve damage in my right leg, and footdrop, which means I can’t raise my right foot when I walk. I use a cane and have to be careful that I don’t trip. I made another change and gave Flynn my symptoms instead. No research needed!
6.How do you come up with storylines? Ideas for stories hit me at the oddest times. One day I was
I used to take our dogs for walks along our country road. One of the properties we passed had numerous dogs, like maybe ten. Naturally, they serenaded us with their barking. One day as we passed the house, they didn’t bark. In fact, no dogs in sight, and my mind went straight to the first line of a story. “The dogs didn’t bark.” I have a trilogy planned and that will begin the second book.
7.What is one thing you wish you could do? I would love to be able to play a musical instrument, the piano or a guitar. I did take piano lessons for a semester at college, but hand-eye-coordination was not my friend.
Duh! I didn’t have to wait.
The story is tentatively titled Where the Windrush Flows. It will be romantic suspense, as usual. I even contacted the owner of the cottage and she agreed for me to use the actual cottage in my novel and she provided some history of the place. I’ve named my characters, given them interesting careers as well as reasons for them to be in the village. The hero is staying in my cottage. I’m having so much fun writing this story.
Every Hidden Thing
Will they unravel the strands of intrigue in time to rescue the victim? Can they overcome their fear of commitment and foster their growing attraction for each other?
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