What Happens in the Alps is T A Williams latest romantic comedy novel and was published on 21st March by Carina UK. You can order a copy of it here: What Happens in the Alps. Today I am very pleased to share a guest post from Trevor where he explains how he came up with a name for one of his characters.
Guest post – What’s in a name?
When I sent the first draft of What Happens in the Alps… to my editor at Harper Collins, she sent me back a lot of suggestions and observations about ways to improve it. One of the things she flagged up was the name of one of the main protagonists. She felt that he needed a “more alpha name”. The name I had chosen was Jimmy.
So what is an alpha name? And, for that matter, what is an alpha male? From the covers of countless romantic novels, it would appear that the first prerequisite for an alpha male is a fine set of abdominal muscles, preferably similar to a sheet of corrugated iron, along with a predilection for wandering round with his shirt off. That immediately drops me to beta status, if not gamma (that’s the abs thing I’m talking about. I’m quite good at walking round with my shirt off).
An alpha male, as far as I can see, is one who is devastatingly handsome, a natural leader, highly successful in his job and still has time to spend at least four or five evenings a week pumping iron or injecting himself with steroids, or both. Rock hard abs don’t look after themselves, you know. Needless to say, he also has to be unbelievably good in bed (bit of a problem there if he’s regularly shooting himself up with steroids) and a sensitive and gentle lover to boot.
So, I thought to myself, what kind of name expresses all that? I started by eliminating the ones that were most obviously over the top. Rock, Elvis, Jagger and Zane were non-starters. The next ones weren’t so easy. A name like George, apart from being the name of a future king of England, isn’t necessarily alpha or hunky. If you add Clooney, then suddenly it leaps into top spot. Similarly Arnold. Let’s face it, I would never dream of calling a child of mine Arnold, but add a heavy Austrian accent and more muscles than the average rugby scrum and it becomes something far more impressive. The same could be said about names like Bruce (Willis), Marlon (Brando) or Harrison (Ford). What I needed was something that sounded tough, but also friendly, sort of like a pit bull terrier when it’s just a few weeks old, or a wolf cub.
I tried any number of websites for inspiration and even discovered one where, among the top “rugged baby names with a country twang” I found, sitting in seventh place, none other than Trevor. Now, I lost my country twang many years ago and I’ve hated my name all my life. All right, I got off lightly. My father’s name was Elias so I suppose I could have ended up as Ezekiel or Melchior, but still, I really don’t think Trevor conveys what I’m seeking to convey here in What Happens in the Alps… .
So, in the end, what name did I choose?
I’m not telling. You’ll have to read the book for yourselves.
Just joking! I wouldn’t leave you in suspense like that. So here it is. And the winner is…drum roll please… Matt, the abbreviation of Matthew. I think it probably does the job, but it took me at least a couple of hours to come up with the solution. This writing business isn’t just a matter of sitting at a typewriter and typing, you know. Then, once I’d done that, I had to find a suitable name for the Labrador…
And now a little about the book:
A sparkling romantic comedy guaranteed to beat the winter blues,What Happens in the Alps… is one story you don’t want miss in 2016!
Up in the magical, snow-kissed mountains…
Two years ago, Annie Brewer’s life was turned upside down when her adrenaline-junkie husband died in a tragic climbing accident. So she’s hoping that moving to the beautiful village of Santorso in the Italian Alps will finally put her life back on track!
…anything can happen!
She might be going into business with her oldest friend – notorious lady-charmer Matt Brown – but men are definitely out of the question for Annie! That is, until she bumps into tall, dark and delicious Alessandro Lago on the ski slopes…and spontaneously says ‘Yes’ to a date!
It must be the crisp, mountain air but suddenly, anything seems possible. The only trouble is, chivalrous Matt is looking more gorgeous than ever…