Behind the Glass | Dreaming | Characters


Names. That seems to be the question asked most when discussing the characters of my novels. How did you choose the names? Why did you choose the names?
Until I found the recent document of my first attempt of writing the story, I believed Willow was always Willow. This was the name she came with and the one I couldn’t change. (If you care to read the first few words I wrote on the story back in 2010, click here. As you will see, Willow was called Darce. I forgot about that.) Bracken was originally Talon, a character from another story I had written, but when his personality morphed, he was no longer that character, everything about him had changed so much, including his physical appearance, I could no longer keep the name. Talon belonged to someone else, a boy with a beautiful smile and a golden halo of curls. So Bracken became Bracken, and when Ash came along, it was at that point, I realised there was a theme to my names. I had two choices. Change some of the names, or embrace it and theme-name an entire city. Despite the hesitation I felt, I went with the latter. This brought about names such as Dune, Bear, Skylark and Falcon. It made naming characters that were from Nuovo fun, and rather easy.

The Mudders were another story. Some of the names changed from the first draft to the last because it was pointed out that quite a few of them began with D. Why? I have no idea. I guess I like the letter.
When choosing names there are many methods I employ. Sometimes a character simply comes with a name, such as Luke. Other times, a little research into the meaning behind the names is involved. Or, it is just a matter of trying out different names until one sticks. None of my characters are based on real people, although some share traits of people I know. For example, Granny Ava’s snoring is a direct re-telling of my Nana’s sleep patterns. When my family stayed with my Nana, she and I would share a room. Being the good little girl that I was, I disliked telling my Nana to shut up, but they were the only words which would stop her frightful snoring. Simply telling her to be quiet, or giving her a gentle shake wasn’t enough.

Each of my characters needed to have their own stories, their own motivations for the choices they made, and not simply because it suited the plot. There were a few characters cut from the story because of this, those that did not add to the story line, and then there were those that were developed because they did. Originally, Bracken had an older brother called Narcissus. I liked this name so much, I gave it to a minor character that was later introduced in the Boy in Uniform story, though he is known as Narc.

Here is a brief overview of the three main characters:

Character Willow

Willow Stanton is the main protagonist of the series and the perspective through which Girl Behind Glass and Girl Beneath Stars is told. It is her story. A story where she has led a sheltered and naive life under the protection of the dome and the watchful eyes of the Establishment. She has no idea of life before the dome, and lives believing whole heartedly in everything the Establishment tells her. Her dream is to join the Guardians so she can see what life is like outside the dome. She is focussed on her goal and knows what she wants. When she finds herself outside the dome, she is shaken, and must adjust the way she looks at life, and what she believes to be true.

Character Bracken

At the beginning of the story, Bracken Rush is Willow’s best friend. He is one of the only people she knows who is willing to question certain aspects of life within the dome, the boy who is in love with her, and the son of the governor of Nuovo. He goes through the greatest transformation during the story with the help of the serum, resulting in conflicts between him and almost everyone he loves. He loves Willow at the beginning of the story, and still loves her at the end, though the type of love changes. After the introduction of the serum, Bracken is left tormented. Plagued with violent tendencies that had no place in his life before, it changes him so greatly, he no longer knows who he is. Boy in Uniform is told from his perspective.

Character Luke

Luke Forbes is a laid back, happy-go-lucky guy with a smile that melts hearts. Since he is more of a people person, than a cause person, he is willing to see the good in most people, although, Bracken’s close relationship with Willow, starts Luke and Bracken’s friendship off on rocky ground. His struggle comes through the relationship with his father who has turned to alcohol in an effort to ease the guilt he feels over the death of Luke’s mother. His father would often take his feelings of guilt out on Luke, and this is when Granny Ava stepped in and took Luke under her wing. Luke admires Willow for the resilience she has shown and her willingness to learn new things.

The next post will be published on 3rd September.

Behind the Glass | Dreaming | Inspiration

*If you haven’t read Girl Behind Glass yet, it is currently free in the Kindle store –

Concepts and Beginings

Writing Girl Beneath Stars has been a very different experience from writing Girl Behind Glass. Firstly, hopefully, I know a little more about the writing process.

I started writing Girl Behind Glass back in 2011. I had a particular scene, and a concept in mind, but little else. I had already attempted and discarded the concept a few times before, but I decided to plunder along and see what happened. It was over a year before I showed anyone the first draft. And then, it took another year before it was ready to publish. Once I published, I quickly realised that it wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready. There were so many things I was yet to learn, so many mistakes I had made, but I do not regret it. If I had waited, it would have never happened. Pressing that ‘publish’ button was terrifying–and obviously before I was ready–but if I had not done it, I would still be sitting here, typing away on my computer, filled with self doubt and a longing to attempt something which I didn’t think was possible.

The first scene I pictured was the one when Bracken comes into the Mudder’s camp hurt and injured. Both he and Willow had no name, no background, I only knew that he loved her, he had bloodshot eyes because of something–I wasn’t sure what–and that she was torn. The rest came as I was developing my world behind the glass.

Nuovo was inspired by a muesli bar wrapper. Strange, I know.  My children’s school had sent home a notice informing parents that to reduce rubbish, all food in wrappers needed to be sent to school within a resealable plastic container and removed from their wrappers. All in the name of the environment. I ignored the notice, but I started thinking about a world where the environment, the planet, had become more important than the people, and where people were kept separate from nature in order to preserve it.

Skeleton Trees

But with most things, the power that it offered those in control was too much to resist, and what started out as good intentions, soon twisted. My world was supposed to be background to the plot of the story, but the more I delved into it, the more enamored I became with the concept. It became less outlandish, and when I started doing a little research, I discovered that a nutrition based food supplement already existed. My ‘nutrition pills’ weren’t as far fetched as I thought. (To find out more about this see soylent.) In fact, I decided to name my pills after the developer as a nod to some distant relation to the concept.

Girl Behind Glass was supposed to be my practice story, a one off that I wasn’t too invested in. But the more I worked on it, the more attached I became. You can’t spent that much time with people–fictional or otherwise–without developing some strong feelings. So soon, Willow, Bracken, Luke, Devon, and the rest of the characters, became a part of me, and the story I was to practice on turned into something I was excited about.

It was supposed to be a one off. A standalone novel. But when I wrote Boy In Uniform as an extra to the story line, the characters evolved in my mind, and the next story started to emerge.

Willow was changing. In Girl Behind Glass she is unsure of herself and her place in the world. When she discovers that life is not as she has been led to believe, she is left shaken. In Girl Beneath Stars, she begins to discovers herself and what she believes in. She’s confronted with different ideals and she must decide who she wants to be.

It is supposed to be the conclusion to the series, and it is the conclusion to Willow’s story, but already another story in the same world is piecing itself together. It won’t be the next book I write, in fact, I may never write it, but the idea is there and one day I may see where it takes me.