New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author

Fun With Names By Julia Day

Posted Aug 26 2016, 5:58 am

Welcome Julia! 

We are delighted to have the the talented Julia Day host our blog and showcase her soon to be released YA contemporary romance, THE POSSIBILITY OF SOMEWHERE

Julia is talking about names today and just how formidable naming a character can be.  Check out this amazing post on just where Julia likes to find her names and insight into the names of the characters in her new YA that will be released in September.  Julia Day is giving away a copy of THE POSSIBILITY OF SOMEWHERE!!!!  Make sure to ENTER below and comment!!!

Read an exclusive excerpt from THE POSSIBILITY OF SOMEWHERE after enjoying the post.

the posibility of somewhere

Fun With Names

Names are important. The way they sound. What they mean. The image they create in your mind. Let’s face it, the name Reyes sounds hot. It just does. If Reyes’ name had been, say, Egbert instead, our reaction to him would be harder to explain to non-believers. (Not that guys named Egbert can’t be sexy…)

Choosing the perfect name for a book character has always been hard for me. I want good characters to have lovely names. I want bad characters to have un-lovely names. I browse babynames.com and check out the meanings, to ensure my warrior character’s name doesn’t actually mean petunia.

I try to avoid the names of people I know. I don’t want them to think that I’m basing a character on them. Since I know a lot of people, that’s becoming more difficult. I’m beginning to run out of options. So sometimes, I change the spelling. (Griffin—I did not name Gryphon after you. Promise.) Other times, I tell my friend-with-a-name-suspiciously-like-one-of-my-villains that they would absolutely not like the book. Problem solved.

My first YA contemporary romance releases on September 6, and let me assure you, I struggled over what to call the characters. So here are the main cast members from The Possibility of Somewhere—and why I chose their names.

Eden – My heroine is named for a town in North Carolina. I have a cousin who lives there, and I decided that one day, I would use it for a main character. That day has come. (I did not look it up on babynames.com, so if you do and it has a bad meaning, please don’t tell me.) In the book, Eden admits that she was named after a town, and so was her brother Boone.

Ash – The hero is Asian-Indian, the son of immigrants. When I began writing this book, my daughter was in high school and asked her Indian friends for a great name for a gorgeous guy. They said Ash. I love that name. It reminds me of the ash tree, strong enough to withstand the wind without breaking.

Mundy – Mundy is Eden’s best friend. Her name is short for Rosamund, who is a character from The Sea Hawk by Rafael Sabatini. I have not read that book, but Mundy’s mom has and liked it.

Tiffany – She is Eden’s step-cousin. She’s a popular girl, so I gave her a popular-ish name. Book Tiffany appears a bit fluffy at first, but she’s passionate about photography and has hidden depths (which she doesn’t always use in the best ways). Tiffany felt like a multi-faceted name.

Sawyer – He’s the captain of the high school baseball team, a popular guy, and one of the few people at the school who treats Eden with the dignity that she deserves. I wanted a strong name—and this one conveys strength.

Kurt and Marta – They are two kids that Eden babysits often. Both names come from the Von Trapp Family children in The Sound of Music. That movie is their mother’s guilty pleasure.

Peyton – Peyton is not a character, but the name of a college scholarship that Eden is seeking. The Peyton Scholarship is named after Peyton Manning, the retired quarterback of the Denver Broncos. I attended the University of Mississippi, and the Mannings are football royalty for Ole Miss alumni. (I was pulling for the Carolina Panthers in the Superbowl, though.)

Cooper – There is a Mr. Cooper in the book, and he owns Cooper’s Hardware Store.  If you translate Cooper into German, you get Fassbender. ‘Nuff said.

Mrs. Menzies – The statistics teacher is Mrs. Menzies. She is named for Tobias Menzies. Just because.

 

the posibility of somewhere

Together is somewhere they long to be.

Ash Gupta has a life full of possibility. His senior year is going exactly as he’s always wanted– he’s admired by his peers, enjoying his classes and getting the kind of grades that his wealthy, immigrant parents expect. There’s only one obstacle in Ash’s path: Eden Moore—the senior most likely to become class valedictorian. How could this unpopular, sharp-tongued girl from the wrong side of the tracks stand in his way?

All Eden’s ever wanted was a way out. Her perfect GPA should be enough to guarantee her a free ride to college — and an exit from her trailer-park existence for good. The last thing she needs is a bitter rivalry with Ash, who wants a prized scholarship for his own selfish reasons. Or so she thinks. . . When Eden ends up working with Ash on a class project, she discovers that the two have more in common than either of them could have imagined. They’re both in pursuit of a dream — one that feels within reach thanks to their new connection. But what does the future hold for two passionate souls from totally different worlds?

 

 
Available for purchase at 
 
                     
 
  Excerpt
 

 

The Possibility of Somewhere

 Julia Day

St. Martin’s Press

1
An Exercise in Probabilities

My normal dress code was designed to keep me invisible, but today I made an exception. I wore a teal shirt (stolen from my dad) over jeans that had only been owned by me. I finished off with my best sneakers, freshly bleached.

After yanking my hair into a ponytail, I grabbed my backpack, charged out of my bedroom, and screeched to a halt in the den. The trailer smelled like toast and bacon. Why?

I crossed to the table and stared down at the plate of food waiting there.

My stepmom came out of the kitchen, holding two mugs of coffee. She offered one to me.

I took it as my backpack slid to the floor with a thud. “You made me breakfast?”

She laughed. “I’ve done this before.”

“When I was nine, maybe.” The bacon looked like it had been fried to crispy perfection. I parked my butt on the chair and snagged a slice. “What’s the occasion?”

Her smile wobbled. “It’s the first day of your last year of high school.”

Oh, damn. She was going to get emotional on me. This day must remind her that I’d be gone in a few months. It wouldn’t be a good idea to act all happy about escaping town soon. Better change the mood fast. “Breakfast is amazing. You can repeat it whenever you want.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” She set her mug on the table and pointed at my ponytail. “Can I do something special with your hair?”

Clearly she wanted to, so sure. “That’d be great.”

While I finished my toast, she twisted my hair into a thick French braid. It took only a couple of minutes before she pressed a kiss to the top of my head. “There you are, sweetie. Now go on, or you’ll miss the bus.”

“Okay.” I stood, gave her a quick hug, and slung my backpack over one shoulder. “Thanks, Marnie. For everything.”

*   *   *

The bus dropped us off fifteen minutes early, something that would never happen again. I went straight to my first-period class. AP English Lit with my favorite teacher.

“Morning, Ms. Barrie,” I said.

She didn’t look up from her computer. “Hello, Eden.”

I slipped into a desk in the back row and watched as my classmates trickled in.

My next class would be statistics, although it had been a recent change. I’d realized in middle school that college was my best route out of Heron, and I wouldn’t get to college without serious scholarships. So I’d mapped out my high school curriculum in seventh grade, picking each course to maximize my GPA. Everything had gone according to plan until three weeks ago, when I’d switched to a different math class and elective. The decision had seemed bold at the time. Now, it felt crazy.

After English, I dropped by my locker and arrived late for second period. With nervous anticipation, I smiled at my statistics teacher and turned toward the back.

“Wait, Eden. Sit there.” Mrs. Menzies gestured at an empty seat on the front row.

I paused, looking from the desk to her. She eyed me steadily, a challenge in her expression.

Did she expect me to argue with her? I certainly wanted to.

Swallowing hard, I took my seat.

“All right, everyone. I’m glad that you’ve chosen to take Advanced Placement Statistics…”

I tuned out what she said, too annoyed to listen to whatever welcoming remarks she had for us. They would be on her syllabus anyway. I was consumed with shrugging off how much it bothered me to sit in the front with a dozen pairs of eyes behind me. Were they watching me? Probably not, but I didn’t like that it was a possibility.

Even deep breaths betrayed me, because they filled my head with the soapy-clean, spicy-cologne scent of Ash Gupta. Why did Mrs. Menzies have me sitting next to him?

“… you’ll have one group project and one individual assignment due each week…”

I glanced at her. Group projects already? Was that why we had assigned seats?

“… that’s it for now. Form into your teams. I’ll hand out your first project.”

The sounds of dragging chairs and laughing voices filled the room. I checked around. Was I the only one who didn’t know what to do?

Ash was looking at me, pained resignation on his face. “You’re with us, Eden.”

I dragged my desk into the circle beside him. There were five of us in the group. Upala and Dev were Ash’s friends. A built-in alliance. They would vote as a bloc even if I could get the last guy on my side.

The next few minutes blurred into the rhythms of a project team pretending to become cohesive. I didn’t join in, listening instead to Ash control the discussion and watching as Mrs. Menzies went from group to group, dropping off a large bag of M&Ms, several paper bowls, and the project sheet. When she finally arrived at our circle, she described what she wanted and then gave me a hard stare.

“I want collaboration from everyone.”

Message received—although it was unnecessary. I participated when it mattered. Reaching for the M&M bag, I filled a bowl and began separating the candies by color. An exercise in probabilities.

“Before we go any further,” Ash was saying, “we should pick a leader for the team. How do we want to choose?”

“Might as well cut the bullshit, Ash,” I said without looking up. “You want the job. No one’s going to fight you. Just take it by acclamation.”

Silence greeted my speech. I glanced at him. His gaze held mine for a second before he frowned at his notebook, picked up a pen, and began drawing tiny perfect squares, one after the other. I looked at the rest of the team. Upala and Dev glared at me but didn’t disagree with my suggestion. Probably hated that it had come from me, though.

The final guy shrugged.

I resumed separating the candies. “See. Done.”

*   *   *

All seniors had lunch immediately following second period. I stopped briefly at my locker before heading toward the cafeteria. Ash fell into step beside me, his entourage of Indian friends trailing behind.

“Eden? Can I ask you something?”

I halted, shocked that he wanted to speak with me outside of a classroom. “Sure.”

His dark eyes bored into mine. “It’s the first day of school. Did you have to take me on already?”

“Take you on?” Was he talking about our exchange in statistics? It had been pretty tame. I was mildly insulted. “If I’d wanted to come after you, I would’ve done a better job than that.”

“Then what was the point?”

“You were wasting my time on fake modesty. And while I don’t care what you think, I would like to make a good grade in statistics.”

His jaw flexed, but he remained silent. I could almost read his thoughts, like captions scrolling across his face. I was the girl he couldn’t explain, the girl who looked like she was one bad day away from living in a homeless shelter. Yet I had a perfect GPA. His gaze swept slowly down me, taking in the golden braid, the lack of makeup, the mouth that cussed, the thrift-store clothes.

“Ash? Are you done?”

Faint color rose up his neck as his gaze returned to mine. “If you don’t mind, I’d like us to call a truce.”

“Why? We’re not at war.”

“It feels like it. You fight me every chance you get.”

His accusation baffled me. In three years of high school, we’d only talked to each other when an assignment required it. And although it was true that I could get stubborn about ideas, it was only because I believed I was right. It had never been anything personal against him. “I don’t fight you.”

His eyebrow arched skeptically.

Okay, I was curious now. “Like when?”

“You rewrote every one of our lab reports in freshman biology.”

“You had just moved here and didn’t know how to impress Mr. Tuttle. I did.”

“On our project team in US history, you vetoed every suggestion I made.”

An exaggeration. Mostly. “We were capable of more. You never took chances.”

He flinched and cut a glance at his friends. They hovered nearby, staring with open animosity. He shifted a step closer to me, his body blocking them from view, and lowered his voice. “You propose insane ideas just to stir things up.”

“Not the point at all.” He must be determined to misread me. The obvious motives were actually the correct ones. “An idea has to be insane to make an A-plus.”

“Insane is more likely to crash and burn.”

“Students like us do not crash and burn, Ash. You play it too safe.”

“Easy for you to say. You’ve got valedictorian in the bag.”

What?

It stunned me that he would allude to such a thing. Did being valedictorian matter to him? It never really had to me. As long as colleges threw buckets of money at me, they could call me anything they wanted. “I don’t care about being valedictorian. Do you?”

“My parents—” His lips clamped shut.

Whoa. His parents must be harassing him about being ranked number two, especially behind someone like Eden Moore. Pity stirred within me, laced with a decent amount of envy. My parents didn’t have a clue about what I did at school. And if my dad could have his way, my grades would suck so that I would never leave home.

I looked around us. The hallway had grown quiet. My precious break was ticking away while I wondered how to respond to Ash. I would not call a truce. That would be confessing to something I hadn’t done, but I also didn’t want him to think I fought him for no reason. “Why is this so important to you?”

“I’m not sure. Why did you punt control of the project to me?”“You were the best person for the job.” I held his gaze, oddly anxious for him to believe me.“Wow. That was not what I expected you to say.” His expression softened from pissed to puzzled. “Thanks. I think.”

I smiled, which was more like a happy twitching of the mouth. He must’ve recognized it, though, because his lips twitched, too.

With a relieved nod, I brushed past him and continued to the cafeteria. Although I hadn’t enjoyed that little confrontation, the way it ended gave me hope that this year might be bearable.

 

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 JuliaDay_medBio:
Julia Day lives in North Carolina (mid-way between the beaches and the mountains) along with two twenty-something daughters, one husband, and too many computers to count. When she’s not writing software or stories, Julia loves to travel to faraway places, watch dance reality shows on TV, and dream about which restaurant gets her business that night.

THE POSSIBILITY OF SOMEWHERE is Julia’s first YA contemporary romance.

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Comments

5 responses to “Fun With Names By Julia Day”

  1. Linda Hutchison says:

    In another life my name is Kathy. My friends call me “Kat” cause i love cats.

  2. Marna Reed says:

    If you could give myself a different name (which at one point I really wanted to–I hated not finding my name on those souvenir name bracelets, lol), I’d be Melissa. It’s an ultimate guilty pleasure name. Beautiful and simple, also not too popular, but common enough. I don’t know, I’m just a sucker for Melissa. Hehe.

  3. Marijah Monfette says:

    funny but when i was younger i always chose the name “cornelia” now i wonder where the heck I got that from but still kind of like it!! i’ve accepted my unique name over the years so im not as anxious to be that or Vachti any more 🙂

  4. Viki S. says:

    I love my name so I would still be Victoria/Viki :).

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