Lauren Carr fell in love with mysteries when her mother read Perry Mason to her at bedtime. The first installment in the Joshua Thornton mysteries, A Small Case of Murder, was a finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Award. A Reunion to Die For was released in hardback in June 2007. Both of these books are in re-release.
Lauren is also the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. The first two books in her series, It’s Murder, My Son and Old Loves Die Hard have been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. The third book in this series, Shades of Murder, was released in May 2012. This is Lauren’s fifth mystery.
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Do you know anyone named Damien? For most Baby Boomers, and maybe even younger, the name Damien immediately brings to mind the Anti-Christ—the incarnate of evil.
Damien did not always bring such an image to mind. As a matter of fact, the meaning behind this old Greek name is “to tame”, according to The Behind the Names website. It was only after the movie The Omen that the name became synonymous with Evil Personified.
Likewise, a name that brings to mind a positive image can spring up on birth certificates everywhere overnight. After the hit movie Splash in 1984, parents rush to name their baby girls Madison after Daryl Hannah’s mermaid character, who was named after the avenue in New York. According to the Social Security Administration website, Madison was ranked 29th in popularity of girl’s names for the 1990’s. However, in the 1980’s that name was not even on parents’ radar. It didn’t make the top two hundred.
We can’t deny it. Certain names bring certain images to mind, whether they be from people we have encountered during our lives or those bigger than life personalities in Pop Culture. Parents will wrestle for months over just the right name that will project the image they want for their child through the rest of his or her life.
In my husband’s family, the first born son’s first name comes from father’s father, and the middle name is after the mother’s father. Well, my father’s name was Hayward, a nice old country name, but not one that I would want to name my child. Everyone called him Mac, which is the name of my protagonist in the Mac Faraday mysteries.
Not only that, but my husband’s first name, and his father’s name, is John. Sure, many wonderful proud Americans have been named John: John Barrymore. John Glenn. John the Apostle. John Lennon.
But when I hear the name John, I think of a hooker’s customer or a toilet! I could not see calling my son John without bursting out laughing with that image in my head. So I declared that I would not call him John. Instead, I would be calling him by his middle name—but it was not going to be Hayward. Sorry, Dad.
Surprisingly, my husband readily agreed that he was not going to have a son with the name Hayward, either. So, breaking from tradition, I was allowed to pick any name I wanted for the middle name. Since tradition had dictated the first name from my husband’s family, it was up to me, one-hundred percent, on the middle name, which our son would be called—at least by me.
I chose Tristan, from Tristan and Iseult, a classic love story between a Cornish knight and an Irish princess. Yes, I much prefer the image of a gallant knight to a hooker’s customer when talking about my son.
Writers have to come up with names for their characters, who are our literary babies, all the time. A poorly thought out name can conjure up the wrong image in readers’ minds. I will change a character’s name over and over again during the course of many drafts before settling on just the right name.
Think about it. Could Stephen King’s book about a family pet stricken with rabies have been half as scary if the dog was named Sweetie Pie? Or how about Huckleberry Finn? The name Huckleberry just brings to mind a bare foot country boy. What if Mark Twain had named him Ernest, instead?
Picking precisely the right name can be just as crucial as planning a plotline. Now, you, dear reader, here’s your chance to help me pick out the name of a character in my next book, Dead on Ice. Don’t get scared! This will be fun and you could win a prize!
Put on your thinking cap and get to work!
(This is going to be such fun!)
Name the Dead Porn Star in Dead on Ice:
Dead on Ice is the first installment of my new series: Lovers In Crime. Taking place in the Chester, WV/Pittsburgh area, Lovers in Crime revolves around the budding romance of Small Town WV Prosecutor Joshua Thornton and Pennsylvania State Police Homicide Detective Cameron Gates.
In Dead on Ice, Cameron Gates is tasked with solving the murder of a missing porn star. The case has a personal connection to Joshua because the star’s mummified body is found in an abandoned freezer in his cousin’s basement. It doesn’t take long for their investigation to reveal that the risqué Hollywood legend’s roots were buried in their small rural town, something that she had kept off her show business bio. She should have kept it off her road map, too. Because when this starlet came running home from the mob in 1985, it proved to be a fatal homecoming.
The Winner must come up with both the Stage Name and the porn starlet’s Real Name. Send an e-mail to me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Put: Dead on Ice Porn Star in the Subject Line of the e-mail. You must supply your contact information in the e-mail. The contest will run from June 1-July 30. I will select the winning names and winner. The Winner will receive a gift basket with print copies of all the Deep Creek Lake Mysteries (autographed), Lovers in Crime Coffee Mug, and an autographed copy of Dead on Ice when it is released in the Fall.
Lauren is on Tour!
Mark Your Calendars! Don’t Miss Any Stop on Lauren’s Virtual Book Tour! Each will be filled with thrilling inside information about Lauren and chances to win! Visit Lauren’s website for her tour schedule.