Friday, October 26, 2012

Crewel Blog Tour & Giveaway

Hey, everyone. Today I'm hosting Gennifer Albin, author of the wonderfully original Crewel, and she's going to write about the importance of names.

What’s in a name?

One of the hardest things about writing for me is coming up with character names.  They have to be perfect, and I often can’t begin writing until I’ve found the name that fits each character.  As I write if a new character pops in, I often have to stop and give him/her a name.  The polite ones show up already named, but the polite ones are few and far between.

Since Crewel is set in another world, I wanted to give the characters names that felt different without being off-putting.  I can’t stand when I pick up a book and the characters have names you can’t pronounce.  I used baby naming websites and then set up a variety of search perimeters based on ethnic origin.  Most of the names came from names rooted in the Breton language, a Celtic language based in Brittany, France, and brought over from the Britons back in the day.  Other names were inspired by creating new names or using existing names based on similar sounds.

I also liked to play with meanings associated with names.

For instance, Adelice means “noble kind.”  Kinda perfect, right?  Whereas Maela, despite being a girl’s name, means “prince,” but since I failed to read the pronunciation guide, in my head I heard “May-la.”  It reminded me of “malo,” the Spanish word for “bad,” so it stuck.  Jost, which I pronounce “J-ah-st,” means “experienced in battle.”  Enora means “honour.”  Amie is a French name, which means “loved.”  Other names like Cormac, Erik, and Loricel just popped into my head.

Some of the names - Benn, Meria, Pryana - I made up based on the other names I’d chosen.  I was surprised to learn Benn is a Latin name that means “blessed.”  One character, poor Erik, had three different names!  I’m always worried I’ll accidentally slip and call him by the name he was in the original manuscript I queried.  It took me and my writing partners a while to get used to the change.

It takes a lot of work to find the perfect name, but when I do, the whole character comes to life for me.

Thanks Gennifer! What a wonderful new way of looking at the characters. And courtesy of the publisher, I now have a hardcover copy and a Crewel bracelet for giveaway to one lucky US/CA reader.

Be sure to check out the other participating blogs!
Crewel Blog Tour Schedule

Monday 10/15         
Tuesday 10/16         
Wednesday 10/17 
Thursday 10/18       
Friday 10/19             
Saturday 10/20        

Monday 10/22         
Tuesday 10/23         
Wednesday 10/24 
Thursday 10/25       
Friday 10/26             
Saturday 10/27        
Sunday 10/28           

If you'd like more information on Crewel, check Goodreads or Amazon.

Some relevant links/info:

More about Crewel

Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.

More about Gennifer Albin:

I like coffee. A lot. Writing gives me time to go get a cup without my kids. I like books as much as I like coffee, but it is easier to read with children hanging on you than drink coffee due to the threat of third degree burns. That's why coffee gets top billing in my intro: its unattainability.

I hold a Masters in English with a specialization in 18th century women's studies. While this is a highly marketable area of expertise, I stay home with my kids, which means my 3 year-old son uses correct grammar and doesn't burn down the house.

I have a ridiculously supportive husband who dreams of being included on a book jacket: "The author lives in Kansas with her husband, two children, and a Tuesday cat." 


  1. I'm hearing great things about this book! And I loved Albin's bio..I stay at home with my kids and try to prevent structure fires whenever possible as well. ;)

  2. I'm very excited to read this book after reading several reviews. I imagine naming a character is like naming a child in some ways and can imagine why it is a difficult part of writing for the author. Thanks!

  3. Names are so hard. They stay with you for life, so it has to be important. Coming up with unique ideas must be even harder!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I want to read this book so badly! I love names too, and when I'm writing I always make sure that the name matches my character.

  6. I'm so excited to read this book! Love to know that she likes to play with names too. Something to look forward to.

  7. I love how she mentions names, because I feel that naming characters is one struggle that plagues all writers. Also, i can relate to not being able to write unless I've decided on the perfect name.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. Wow! I never knew how much thought went into a character name! After reading her comments, I'll have to pay more attention to the names in the future! Thanks for sharing!

  9. It was the weaving time with matter bit. How could that not pique my interest?!

  10. I never really realized how much thought went into the character names. I have one friend who is a writer and she had a very different process for her names (especially because her book had a strong Pride and Prejudice theme so she borrowed a lot of modern variations of names from that book).

    Thanks for the interesting blog post, and the giveaway!

  11. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who worries so much about naming characters! I have to figure out what the parents would have chosen, and it can take days to sort it all out.

  12. I think it's neat how Gennifer plays on the names of characters not to mention the title itself!

  13. I love that part of writing a book, names are such fun to create, to match them perfectly with the characters. My latest book, The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw, tells the tale of two adopted sisters. I had one of their names pretty early on but after I'd started writing, I had to change it after Googling it and discovering it was a porn star's name!! grrrrr

  14. The mere cover of Crewel excites me. Then, once you see the actual premise, you know you want it even more! It's full of imagination and creativity!

  15. Growing up, I was always, and still am, fascinated with names and meanings of names. I was very intrigued with the importance of picking the right names for her characters that Gennifer writes about. I'm also fascinated with the story itself... the ability to control the life of other people!?! Weaving moments in life!?! And, to have people in power controlling that...very scary thought. Thanks for having this giveaway! This will definitely be added to my TBR or lose. Thank you for such a great Author post.

  16. I absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post's to be precisely what I'm looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content for yourself? I wouldn't mind composing a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects you write regarding here. Again, awesome blog!

    What about this book excites you? How do you choose character names?

  18. The story is unique and I am a sucker for these kinds of books. Usually, when I pick names for my characters, I pick those which mean something to me or if the name reminds me of someone

  19. Well, usually I pick a character name based on the meaning behind it. Like, if my character is supposed to be kind of dark and mysterious, I might name her Melanie which means black. If I'm writing a fantasy with, let say moon creatures, I might call my main character Luna. But name-picking with me is usually very precise and focused when it comes to my main character.
    As for the book itself, I've been wanting to read this book for SO LONG. It just sounds so unique and interesting, and I've seen nothing but good reviews for it.

    I hope the giveaway is INT, but even if it's not - I really enjoyed your question! It's a really good one! :)

    Thank for the giveaway regardless!

  20. When I *tried* writing, I did something similar– I went to a baby name website and looked at names all with similar ethnic backgrounds/origins and picked names which came close to their personalities.
    I would really LOVE to win this book because I managed to get an ARC of Altered and can't really read that until I read Crewel, can I? :P It sounds absolutely fab nonetheless, so thanks for the giveaway! :D

  21. When writing, there are a few things that I find difficult and need to have a good idea of before I start, and the names of characters is one of them. As for how I choose...well, it depends. First, I don't want a name that's super common, in the world and in books. Secondly, it has to fit the character. If I see a name and I like it but it doesn't fit the character, I won't pick it. The name just has to FEEL right. Sometimes, I research names looking for a certain meaning, or the name may come from something that inspired the character. Like I said, deciding names is hard for me, and it's hard to start without it. Thanks for the giveaway, and great questions!

  22. To those asking -- yes, giveaway is INT!

  23. I really want to read this book because the synopsis is so intriguing. I'm really interested in this whole world that Gennifer Albin created as well, because I've heard such amazing things about it. When I come up with character names, I always try to come up with out of the ordinary ones. I really love names that aren't common, because then I feel as if they're easier to remember. It's easier to match a character to a book that way.


  25. Hi, Nitzan. You won the giveaway for CREWEL. Will you email me at christinabejjani AT gmail DOT com with your mailing address so I can get you the book ASAP?

  26. Sent you! OMG, can't believe I won. Thank you so much!
    *makes the happy dance*


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