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Diary of a Writer - Competition Winner

Guest post by Michael Jecks...


Before anything else, I must just say that I am enormously grateful to all of you for the entries to this little competition.

I hadn’t expected quite so many names to be thrown at me - usually a competition of this type generates about twenty to thirty names, not almost seventy! So thank you for all your suggestions, and for the mild headache I now have after running through them all and trying to come to a sensible decision.

As you can imagine, a competition like this usually takes no time. The author would quickly skim over the names, and then come to a quick decision - while mulling over interesting snippets of news in the papers, sipping a cappuccino and gazing out over the sea from his holiday apartment in Bermuda. We authors have an easy life, after all.

I wish. In reality I’m sitting in a chilly, granite, Dartmoor house which is still bordering on freezing even while the tarmac’s melting in the road outside.

Choosing a winner should be a doddle, in theory. Usually, I would expect medieval names only, and I’d be easily able to discard ninety percent immediately on the basis that they sounded too modern, too Celtic, or too “wrong” for my characters.

This time, it’s much more problematic. I set myself the intriguing problem of two books. One medieval, one modern. Why the heck did I do that? I’ve discovered that many medieval names would work brilliantly for a modern story and vice versa. I hadn’t thought of that. And the names do work for the type of characters I’m writing about.

Which is why I am typing this at almost midnight on Monday 10th of June.

There were some I could discard in the first pass. I’m looking for a simple name that can be shortened, for example. And then, some of the names submitted I’ve already used, so can’t reuse them. You see, I’ve already written the medieval story, and it’s a case of replacing one or two names, rather than inventing new characters, so the names have to fit for the fellows I’ve already depicted.

In many ways, the modern story is a lot easier. Obviously, since it’s not written yet, I can afford to be a lot more flexible. However, there is a major problem: I don’t know what the characters are going to be like. I don’t know how many male protagonists I’ll have compared to female ones. I do know that I am not having only men involved. I prefer to keep things a bit more realistic than that. If you’ve read ACT OF VENGEANCE, you’ll know that I like to have a fair smattering of both sexes in my modern stories.

All of which leads me to the final decision as to who has won.

It really has been very difficult to pick them. I cannot claim to have had a flash of inspiration while selecting them. It’s been very hard, but some did appeal to me quite quickly because they felt right for the people I’ve written about.

I must thank those who went over and above the call of duty: Avril, D, Diana, Shelagh, Helga, all with more than five names, and especially Samantha with her stunning thirty! If I could, I would pick more winners, but I only have two books I can give away.

So, to the winners.

Choosing names

There are two books to give to the people who have sent in ideas. One is a reward for the medieval name, one for the person who gave me a good modern name. The medieval name will appear in FIELDS OF BLOOD next year, while the other will be used in a modern thriller I’ll write later this year.

To try to be fair, I’m picking one male name for the medieval story, and a female one for the modern.

For the medieval, I am grateful to Lilly Whale for her suggestion of “Barda”. I won’t use the surname, because the sort of guy I’m writing about wouldn’t have had one.

For the second story, the modern one, I am grateful to Shelagh Kilworth for her “Pia Claymore”. She will appear in the story somehow!

And that is it. I am hugely grateful to all for your brilliant suggestions, and I only hope that the two winners enjoy their copies of TEMPLAR’S ACRE and the excitement of seeing their names appearing in the other books next year.

Again, I am enormously grateful to all of you for your suggestions. Although I’d have loved to have helped you, Terry, Daisy will have to wait for another day, I think. And Steven’s Freya was highly appealing (because I know how children like to see their names in books), but I don’t think she would work in these stories, sadly.

I have had great fun reading through the names - while enduring a certain amount of mental torment trying to pick the right names for my characters - and I’m sorry to all of you whose names didn’t quite fit. Still, keep an eye on this website and perhaps we’ll be able to fix a new prize later in the year to give you another chance to win another book.

Thanks again, and will be in contact with the winners very soon!


As well as collaborating with fellow members of The Medieval Murderers, Dartmoor-based Michael Jecks is the author of thirty three novels in his best-selling Templar series. His latest, Fields of Glory will be published in June 2014 in hardback and Kindle from Simon & Schuster. Explore the titles mentioned in this post, along with more of Michaels' work at: www.michaeljecks.co.uk

11 June 2013

Michael Randall

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