Thursday, April 9, 2015

Her Hearts Surrender by Allison Merritt... Vikings, Love and War... Release Day

Allison Merritt stopped by to chat about how she chose her characters' names in the just released Her Heart's Surrender. Links to purchase your eBook copy can be found at Three Worlds Press

First a little about Her Heart's Surrender
Taken from her village as a child, Ealasaid has lived under the iron rule of a Viking king for far too long. The only good to come out of her life is her son. As long as the king lives, their freedom and hope for the future seems dismal. Despite her contempt for the king and his bloodline, she's drawn to Hella Ingvasson, the man who kidnapped her, and the plight he faces when the king dies.
His father's final demand is that Hella must wed if he's to claim the throne. What better revenge than to marry the thrall his father hated most? Despite her fears Hella will become like his father, Ealasaid agrees to marry for her son’s sake, but she quickly learns her husband’s battle scarred body provides more pleasure than nightmares.

Word comes that her brothers also survived the raid and have assembled an army. They march toward a Norse settlement with the intention of revenge. Unless she can reach her brothers and convince them not to slaughter the man and people she's come to love, Hella may become another bloody stain on history's tapestry.

So Allison, share with our readers and current and future fans some background about what naming Viking characters.

Allison Merritt: I often pick names with meanings when I bring characters to life. Or when they choose me to make them real, however you want to look at that. Mostly I write historical romance set in the 19th century or later, so a lot of careful thought went into naming the characters in Her Heart's Surrender. Here's a bit about them and the characters. I've said it before and I'll say it again: is an author's best friend.

Ealasaid – It's a Scottish-Gaelic form of Elizabeth (betcha didn't see that coming). A strong name for a strong heroine. When I start researching names, I almost called her Keavy, but I stumbled over this one and it fit her to a T. Keavy ended up being the name of Ealasaid's eldest sister.

Hella – Generally a girl's name (and I had a beta reader point that out). I wanted to call him Halle, but I thought that sounded way girlier. It means “flat stone”. Hard body, you betcha, but there's nothing flat about this hero.

Eoghann – I laughed so hard in Leap Year when Amy Adams' character called the guy at the bar E-o-gan. Um, it's “Owen” in case you're Hookt on Fonix like me. Eoghan is the son of Niall of the Nine Hostages in Irish lore. Yeah, he's a Saxon in the book and his heroic deeds might be a little questionable, but our Eoghann is willing to stand up for his sister when she needs back-up. They were the closest of the Kentigern siblings.

Ingvar – Old Norse meaning “warrior”. He's called many things in the book and he's also known as the White Raven, because as we all know, ravens as scavengers. He had to be fancy and rare, so his banner sigil is white—and very much to be feared.

Erik – Is there a Viking family that hasn't had a Viking named Erik? Well, maybe. Erik is Hella's adopted brother and potential heir to Ingvar's throne.

Birgir – Ealasaid's son is called after his Norse relatives, although she considered giving him a Saxon name. Birgir is from Birger, meaning “help, save, rescue”. Perfect, because he was literally the only thing that saved her during her time as a thrall.

Ulrika – The given name of two Swedish queens. She may be another Viking thrall, but she's also Ealasaid best friend and confidant. She was there when Birgir was born and is like a grandmother figure to him.

Diarmaid – It's consider to mean “without jealousy”, but the more you come to know Ealasaid's eldest brother, the more you realize Diarmaid's got a lot of jealousy and some poorly suppressed rage going on. You can never have too many bad guys in a story and he fits the bill pretty well. Okay, maybe you can have too many bad guys, but there were just the right amount in Her Heart's Surrender.

These are some of the major players in the book. I hope you enjoyed this little look at their names and personalities.
About the author:
A love of reading inspired Allison Merritt to pursue her dream of becoming an author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she's not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.
Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that's gathering dust after it was determined that she's better at writing fluff than hard news.
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