Saturday, January 21, 2012

Guest Post: Sharon K. Owen

Today I welcome fellow author and friend, Sharon Owen She's had a varied career and offers a lot to the world of literature. Let's hear from her in her own words:
I am a fiction writer, a university professor, a copy editor and an online writing teacher. My first Romantic Suspense: Thicker Than Water was published in 2011 and the second book in the series, Whatever Goes Around, will be published in March, 2012.
My short stories and poetry have been published in Descant, Concho River Review, Iron Horse, American Literary Review, Trinity Writer’s Workshop newsletter and collections of Christmas stories.
I am blessed with a loving family, a multitude of friends and the good fortune to share a cozy sanctuary in North Texas with my four-legged roommates.
As an only child in a household and neighborhood primarily populated with adults, I followed my grandfather’s example and entertained myself by creating my own stories in which I was always the hero and the star.
I inherited my vivid imagination and a compulsion to create alternate realities from my maternal grandfather.
He was natural-born story teller. In another century he might have been a Seanchai (an irish storyteller/historian who related adventures that became part of the legends in Ireland.
In our family, he passed along an oral history that brought our ancestors to life. These stories instilled in me a love of family drama and a curiosity about all the interactions of family members through succeeding generations.
The literacy skills I developed in school give me the opportunity to put those stories on paper. Although the written version never quite matches the perfection of those images in my mind, I persist in the attempt to present characters and situations that intrigue, inspire and entertain

Sharon's first book in her Brands Crossing series introduces us to well rounded characters, family dynamics, a mystery, and a feisty heroine. Let's hear what Sharon has to say about her book:

As a child, KATE O'DONNELL spends summers at her grandparents' estate in Brands Crossing where she and her girl cousins battle make-believe monsters, rescue endangered victims and a save a mythical kingdom.
At twenty-five Kate is a singer/songwriter living in Nashville and pursuing a promising relationship with computer game designer PHILLIP NORWOOD. There, her only battles are fought in Aidenne's Revenge, Phillip's online fantasy game based on her childhood adventures. With her grandfather's sudden death from injuries he sustained in a suspicious car crash, Kate is forced to make a choice.
Will she remain in Nashville to focus on Phillip and her music career?
Or will she move back to Brands Crossing and honor the promise she made to her grandfather that she would investigate the mystery surrounding his death?
Family trumps career and romance and Kate heads back to Texas where the monsters, victims and endangered kingdoms are all too real. In an attempt to protect Kate from danger, Phillip joins her quest and helps her search for incriminating documents, investigate a centuries-old family feud and confront an anonymous rose-bearing admirer who stalks Kate in both real and virtual universes.
Thicker Than Water (Brands Crossing Series) is the first in a series of novels set in Brands Crossing, Texas. It chronicles the lives of the Kincaids, a prominent family in this mythical town, and focuses on a mystery that extends back to the mid-eighteenth century and the young Texas Republic.

Finally, let's hear from Sharon and her philosophy on characters:


What's in a name? that which we call a roseBy any other name would smell as sweet;
is a quotation from William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, meant to say that the names of things do not matter, only what things are.[1]

In the play, the line is said by Juliet in reference to Romeo's house, Montague which would imply that his name means nothing and they should be together.

Well, as much as I hate to dispute any of Shakespeare’s wisdom and advice, I disagree with this statement.

For contemporary fiction writers, it is extremely important that they take a lot of time and effort to choose the best possible names for their characters. Ones that will seem appropriate and resonate with the reader(s).

When I was writing Thicker Than Water (Brands Crossing Series) I spent hours pouring through websites on names, trying to find one with a look, sound and meaning that was most appropriate for my characters.

When I pondered on the name for my protagonist, I wanted it to represent who she was as an individual and how she was connected to family. I chose her last name for the Irish connection (and also because that was the name of the town where I grew up). I wanted her to be named after both grandmothers and chose to have her named after her Irish nana in Boston and after her French belle-mere in Texas. Therefore, she was christened Kathleen Isabelle O’Donnell.

I wanted her to have the nickname Katie as a child, but I knew she would shorten that to Kate as an adult.

Kathleen is the Irish form of Katherine and means innocent or pure.
Isabelle is the French version of Elizabeth and carries a meaning of reverence, loyalty and commitment.
O’Donnell is a celtic surname which means world might.

I think these names are very appropriate for Kate because she personifies a kind of idealism and innocence (some would say naiveté) as well as the loyalty. She also comes across as a heroine (especially as her alter-ego, Flamesdancer, in an online, multplayer video game). These qualities lead her to abandon career and romance and dive into a quest to avenge her grandfather’s murder.

So, I respectfully disagree with both Will and Juliet. Kate, by any other name, would not look, feel, smell, nor sound as sweet. Her boyfriend Phillip mightt add taste to that sensory list.

Thank you Sharon, for your time today. Here are her various sites and contacts. Please buy or download Thicker Than Water for a reading treat.


1 comment:

  1. Joanne,

    Thanks for inviting me to your blog and giving me such a wonderful introduction.