Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thrill Ride by Julie Ann Walker (Guest Post/Giveaway)

Today I am excited to welcome one of my favorite romantic suspense authors, Julie Ann Walker, joining us with her new release is the must-read Black Knights Inc. series, Thrill Ride

What's in a Name?
AKA: The Winding, Twisting Road to Naming Characters

Hey, hey, all you romance junkies out there!  Julie Ann Walker here, pleased as punch to be back on Reading Between the Wines and talking to you about character names.  How I come up with them.  Who loves them.  Who hates them.  And all the wonderful shades of grey (Can I still use that phrase without conjuring up images of another writer? LOL!) in between…

Now, for those of you who don't know me, I write the bestselling romantic suspense series, Black Knights Inc.  It follows a group of ex-government and ex-military men who run a super-secret defense firm operating under the guise of a custom motorcycle shop.  Sounds fun, right?  Well, it is!  And part of that fun is getting to name the characters, particularly since ex-military and ex-government types usually have some pretty inventive nicknames.

So, let's start at the beginning shall we, and make our way - at least partially - through the list…

First, there's Nate "Ghost" Weller from HELL ON WHEELS.  I chose his first name because my niece was pregnant with her first child, a boy, and she was going to christen him Nathan.  Plus, I'd always loved the shortened version of "Nate."  As for the nickname, I simply sat down and thought about the characteristics of a hardcore Marine Scout sniper.  Stealthy, solitary, and downright chilling.  I mean, no one fancies the thought of being lined up in a sniper's crosshairs, right?  So, how could I describe this man?  As a Ghost.  Voila!  Nate "Ghost" Weller was born… and so was my great-nephew, by the way.  Happy, healthy, and ornery from day one.  ;-)

Next came Frank "Boss" Knight from IN RIDES TROUBLE.  Much to my family's chagrin, I got the name Frank Knight from my eldest sister's boyfriend.  Her, ehem, now ex-boyfriend.  In my defense, I didn't name my character after the man himself.  It was as simple as this…  I thought the handle was cool.  Frank Knight sounds like a guy who is big and tough.  A guy who can easily take any and all comers.  And that fit the attributes of my character.  And the nickname?  Well, that's easy.  He is the boss.  He's the leader.  Enough said…

Then there was Jake "The Snake" Somers in REV IT UP.  I chose his last name simply because my husband and I are great friends with a couple who have that last name.  It was a nod to my fondness for them.  And then I looked for a first name that would encapsulate, if you will, the plight of the hero.  Jacob means "to follow," or "to come from behind."  And since Jake was coming back into the heroine's life following great tragedy, and he was definitely coming from behind - way, way behind - in order to try to win her over, I thought the name was perfect.  Now, how about that nickname, huh?  Well, that explanation is a bit, uh, risqué.  So, you'll have to read the book to find out its origin. *wink, wink*(unabashed plug for readership)

And, finally, we arrive at the hero in THRILL RIDE, Richard "Rock" Babineaux.  He's a ragin' Cajun, so coming up with his last name was as simple as doing a Google search for Cajun surnames.  (Boring, I know, but not every name can have a cool story.  Some names come about from the tried and true method of throwing-a -dart-at-a-board.) Then, it was time to give him a first name.  Considering his last name was ethnic, I wanted his first name to be something simple.  Now, his character is strong, capable, loyal, honorable, and, above all else, lionhearted.  So, what better moniker than the one given to the great man himself, Richard the Lionheart!As for the nickname?  It was simple.  Everyone in Black Knights Inc. depends on him.  Everyone leans on him.  Everyone relies on his support.  He's their rock!

So, there you have it.  A peek behind the curtain at the evolution of my characters' names.   Some are fun and some are functional, but they all, hopefully, help bring the books to life.

Thanks to Reading Between the Wines for having me on today.  It's been wonderful, as always!  Cheers!

He’s Gone Rogue…Ex-navy SEAL Rock Babineaux is as Cajun as they come—spicy, sexy, and more than a bit wicked. But would he actually betray his country? Even his best friends on the special-ops Black Knights team aren't sure they can trust him. Now the target of a massive manhunt, Rock knows the only way to protect the team—especially his partner, Vanessa—is to run...
She Won’t Back Down…Rock might think he can outmaneuver them all, but he hasn't counted on how stubborn Vanessa Cordero can be. And she refuses to cut him loose. Sure, her partner has his secrets, but there's no one in the world she'd rather have by her side in a tight spot. Which is good because she and Rock are about to get very tight...
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Check out our reviews of this series!


Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Black Knights Inc. romantic suspense series. She is prone to spouting movie quotes and song lyrics. She'll never say no to sharing a glass of wine or going for a long walk. She prefers impromptu travel over the scheduled kind, and she takes her coffee with milk. You can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission. Look for the first four books in her fast-paced series: Hell On Wheels(August 2012) In Rides Trouble(September 2012) Rev It Up (October 2012) and Thrill Ride (April 2013). For more information, please visit or follow her on Facebook and/or Twitter @JAWalkerAuthor.


Sourcebooks is giving away 1 copy of Rev It Up (Book 3 in the Black Knights Inc. Series, and where readers first meet Rock and Vanessa, hero and heroine of Thrill Ride) to 1 reader, US and Canada only. To enter, just leave a comment on this post: What are some of your favorite character names and why? And then fill out the rafflecopter below. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I like the name Caitlin from a Francine Pascal (Sweet Valley High) book... I just like the sound...

  2. Mackayla from the Fever Series ( Karen Moning ). You can shortened it up to be a tough girl ,one of the boys (Mac). Or keep it the same. Versatile.

  3. Thank you so much for having me back on today! As always, it's a pleasure and an honor!

  4. I don't really have a favorite name. It depends if the character will grow into it. I do prefer names that aren't so common or nicknames.

  5. Congrats to Julie on the new release. One of my favorites is Bryony from Sherry Thomas' "Not Quite a Husband." It's just a pretty name.

  6. I love the name Roarke. It always brings such nice images.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  7. I like the name Horse. He is the biker guy from Reapers Property, The name says it all.

  8. I like Ripper from Madeline Sheehan's Undeniable.... Duece is a good one too!!!! Julie I love your books!!!! Thanks for this giveaway...

  9. I don't have a preference on names. Even when the characters have my own children's names I don't really pay attention to that since the character takes over the name, whatever it is.

  10. I like strong names like Damien or Wraith! They sound mysterious and hot;)


  11. I like names that you don't really hear often IRL like Bastien, Wraith, Stryker, Zane etc. I think they are sexy names :)

  12. Memorable, and not in a good way to me, are the crazy names in J./R. Ward's Brotherhood of the Black Dagger. They're strange and the fact that she spells them strangely as well... Xhex (really, how demeaning for a female warrior?!?), Xcor, Rhage, Pfury etc.

    Otherwise, I don't really pay attention much to the names.

  13. I like Kane and Gabe. They just sound so manly.
    Thanks for sharing today. I can't wait to read Thrill Ride!
    Rhonda D

  14. I thought J R Ward's choice of names/spellings for her Black Dagger Brotherhood guys and gal, was very clever. Thank you for sharing your work. :)

    jukyjoauka at aol dot com

  15. I like names I can easily pronounce, other wise I find myself stumbling over them - other than that I'll like whatever the author chooses.
    sallans d at yahoo dot com

  16. I like names that are familiar. Or easy to say, if not I just end up making them sound like something I am familiar with.

  17. I don't really have favorite character names but I tend to like names that seem to fit the character's personality and some of the exotic names.

  18. I love the names Sherrilyn Kenyon uses in her Dark Hunter series, Kyrian, Acheron, Vane, Talon....those names just scream sex to me.


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