Author Guest Post
PLAYING THE NAME GAME
By Kate Collins
Confession time: I’m horrible at remembering names. If we were introduced, there’s a ninety percent chance I’d forget your name thirty seconds after I heard it, and it has nothing to do with you not being memorable. Actually, I’m not sure how it happens. My theory is that I concentrate on what the person is saying to me instead of playing the name game. “This is Jane. Jane is plain. Plain Jane will now remain in my brain.” Or something along that vein.
Okay, now I’m stuck on rhymes. Excuse me while I clear my head.
Anyway, at the elementary school where I taught many years ago, we had different classes for homeroom, reading and math, which meant I had to memorize up to ninety names each year. And I did it with no problem. In fact, by day four, I could take attendance and know exactly who was who.
Obviously, as with muscle, if you don’t use it, you lose it. This was brought home to me during a radio interview when I was asked a question about a character in one of my mysteries. And I couldn’t for the life of me remember who that character was. How embarrassing.
But when you have a lot of books, and each is as populated as mine are, with a new victim and at least four suspects, plus the cast of regulars and secondaries, the names tend to get blurred. And the sad fact is that I spend hours choosing those names. I have two books of baby names and one book entitled NAMES THROUGH THE AGES, with chapters devoted to different time periods as well as different countries.
That’s because names are vitally important when I’m working with new characters. If I pick the “wrong” name, I can’t get a visual image of that character. Once I was a hundred pages into the story but wasn’t feeling the love for one of my suspects. Then I changed her name and VOILA. I was off and running. Or rather, my suspect was, as she turned out to be the murderer.
So next time you pick up a novel, notice the characters’ names. I’ll bet there was a lot of thinking behind them.
About Statue of Limitations
Statue of Limitations (A Goddess of Greene St. Mystery)
1st in Series
Publisher: Kensington (January 28, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
Digital ASIN: B07R8QWPTN
In this delightful new series by the New York Times bestselling author of the Flower Shop Mysteries, Athena Spencer comes back home to work with her crazy big Greek family at their garden center. But she never expected a return to her roots would mean protecting her family from murder . . .
After her divorce, Athena has returned to coastal Michigan to work in her family’s garden center and raise her son, while also caring for a mischievous wild raccoon and fending off her family’s annoying talent for nagging. Working alone at the garden center one night, Athena is startled by a handsome stranger who claims to be the rightful owner of a valuable statue her grandfather purchased at a recent estate sale.
But she has even bigger problems on her plate. The powerful Talbot family from whom her pappoús bought the statue is threatening to raze the shops on Greene Street’s “Little Greece” to make way for a condo. The recent death of the family’s patriarch already seemed suspicious, but now it’s clear that a murderer is in their midst. Athena will have to live up to her warrior goddess namesake to protect her family from a killer and save their community from ruin . . .
About Kate Collins
Kate Collins is the New York Times bestselling author of the Flower Shop Mystery series. After publishing numerous historical romances, Kate penned the long-running mystery series, three books of which were made into Hallmark movies starring Brooke Shields. An Indiana native, Kate graduated from Purdue University with a master’s degree in education. When not growing roots at her computer, Kate loves to garden. Other passions include yoga, reading, spending time with family and friends, sampling great wines and fine dark chocolate, and enjoying every moment of life. Kate lives in Northwest Indiana and Key West, Florida. Visit her online at KateCollinsBooks.com.
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