Thanks, ARRA

I’ve finally sent my seventh novel, Grievous Harm, to my publisher. Finding the time to go through the completed manuscript and tweak anything that might need it wasn’t easy. Not only am I trying to organise WriteFest, the Bundaberg writers festival, but I’m also trying to tidy my office. I’d love to be able to say that I live and work in a pristine environment, but … Clean it is, tidy is something else. But with the festival organising kicking into gear, I figure a neat desk will help me keep on top of things. And that might just give me enough time to start writing book eight.

So what has this to do with the ARRA, I hear you ask? Well, the Australian Romance Readers Association has an email loop, and they are a very generous and enthusiastic bunch, so when I couldn’t find the right name for a minor character in Grievous Harm, I sent out a “please help” email for suggestions. The responses were wonderful, names and reasons why those names suited my character came rolling in. I was most grateful for their help, but none of the names sparked that “Oh, yeah” sensation I was hoping for. Then it came. The perfect name for this character. He’s only a minor character in this book, but will become the main character in book eight. And now I can write his story. The plot has been percolating in my mind for some time, but without the right name, this character was too elusive to pin down. So thanks, ladies, I’m most indebted to you, and particularly to Debbie for sending me the name.

So it makes me wonder, how do other readers feel about characters’ names? Do you feel jerked out of the story if the character doesn’t fit his or her name? Does a soldier hero called Cecil make you shake your head and wonder what the writer was thinking? How does it affect you when a character has a name you can’t stand?

It makes you wonder …

I watched A Current Affair tonight and was appalled by the comments made by Yumi Stynes and George Negus on the tv show The Circle about Victoria Cross winner Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith. Cprl Roberts-Smith had been interviewed on another channel about his actions that won him the armed services highest medal and about his life as a soldier and a husband and father.

He risked his life to save the lives of his mates and displayed the kind of courage we are grateful our soldiers have. In his interview he also shared the personal story of his and his wife’s struggle to have children. He was articulate, honest, and showed the emotional courage that complemented the physical and mental courage that won him the VC.

I won’t mention Yumi’s and George’s disgraceful comments. They should hang their heads in shame for what they said.

I watched SAS Cprl Roberts-Smith’s interview, and thought at the time that the heroes that we writers create are reflections of true heroes like this man. Soldiers like him give me faith that our country is being protected by the best, and I thank them for their dedication and their devotion to duty.