Rowan Branch 1 of the Tree of Life by Holly Bargo Genre: Paranormal Romance
Nearly a century ago, Rowan Nemed died by lightning strike. The divine bolt ignited something magic and she was transformed into something rare, powerful, and fey: sidhe.
Sidhe survival depends much upon one’s ability to remain hidden from other supernatural creatures and magic users who would exploit them. Rowan has lived for several years in the pressure cooker of Hollywood as a set designer, carefully staying away from the camera. However, a spontaneous act of recognition for her work brings Rowan to the notice of Los Angeles’ supernatural community and her freedom is threatened.
Lion shifter Adrian and vampire Simon are best friends and business partners. When they discover Rowan, each wants her for his own. Rowan does her best to dissuade them, for a supernatural matebond means the end of her freedom.
Then demons begin hunting sidhe and Rowan is a prime target. She agrees to exchange her freedom for survival. But which male will Rowan accept? And can she survive when one of them dies in a battle to keep her?
This is the first of three books in The Tree of Life trilogy. The book can be read as a stand-alone novel.
Mature content not suitable for readers under 18. Content has been proofread, edited, and updated.
Holly Bargo never outgrew a love of fairy tales, legends, and myths. Or horses. However, one foot must remain firmly planted in the real world where Holly makes her living as a freelance writer and editor. She and her husband have two grown children and live on a southwest Ohio hobby farm with a menagerie indoor and outdoor animals.
Holly enjoys hearing from readers and other authors and may be contacted via the Hen House Publishing website: www.henhousepublishing.com.
When she's not working on other people's documents or reading, Holly finds time to transfer the voices in her head to paper ... er ... computer. If she doesn't, there's a definite possibility her mind will explode.
And for those who might wonder from where the pseudonym of Holly Bargo came, it's quite simple really. Horses. Namely an elegant and temperamental Appaloosa mare who has long since crossed the Rainbow Bridge and is fondly remembered for guarding toddler children and crushing a brand-new pager.
I put a lot of thought into my characters’ names. Sometimes, a character’s name pops into my mind without much cogitation at all; other times, I’ll go through several iterations of a character’s name until I settle on one that just feels right.
Sometimes names have personal connotations. For instance, I’ve known a few people with the first name of Kim (or Kimberly). I’ve loathed all but one of them and won’t use that name for one of my heroines. I’ll probably use it for a villain, though.
When writing Rowan, I wanted to use a name that wasn’t too common, yet had significance. In many stories, the rowan tree is associated with witchcraft and magic. That made it perfect for my heroine. Her fellow sidhe, Cassia and Willow, followed the theme of plant-based names. Cassia is one species of tree from which cinnamon is harvested. Graceful willow seemed to fit the name of the third heroine in the trilogy.
Sometimes I get alliterative in my naming conventions. I have no idea why. In the Twin Moons Saga, another trilogy, the heroines’ names all begin with C: Catriona, Calista, and Corinne. I prefer choosing names that don’t fall into 100-most-popular lists, as names lend originality and distinction to their characters. On the other hand, I don’t usually favor weird spellings of common names.
Strange or “creative” spelling of a common name annoys me more than not. It reminds me of a passage in Alan King’s satire Help! I’m a Prisoner in a Chinese Bakery. In this sarcastic commentary on creative naming, King speaks of a fictional young man who’s name is pronounced “William,” but that’s not the way it’s spelled. Near the end of that chapter when the young man goes for a job interview, the hiring manager asks him, “What’s your name, son?” The young man’s response: “I’m not sure, sir.” King condemns the trend with a single line showing the effect of creative spelling, something along the lines of “Some bright future this kid’s got.”
I also think it’s important to choose names that fit the culture and period, especially when writing historical fiction. For instance, I know that William Shakespeare invented the name Pamela. Therefore, any appearance of that name in, say, a medieval romance loses credibility with me. Little anachronisms like that annoy me to no end and affect my enjoyment of the book.
It’s also important in other genres to create names that the reader has a hope of pronouncing. Douglas Addams’ series beginning with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy takes creative naming conventions to their absurd extreme, including one minor character whose name is composed entirely of punctuation. Prince Rogers Nelson wasn’t the first to adopt that silliness when he changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol.
Names affect the reader’s perception of a character. Choose them with care.
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