Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Guest Post by Kimberly Pauley

Good morning! I've got a very special treat for you this morning Kimberly Pauley's latest hit shelves just last week and as part of the tour SoHo Teen has arranged I'm able to offer up a guest post from Kimberly herself!

But first just a bit about the book from Goodreads just in case you haven't read it yet:

Ask Aria Morse anything, and she must answer with the truth. Yet she rarely understands the cryptic words she‘s compelled to utter. Blessed—or cursed—with the power of an Oracle who cannot decipher her own predictions, she does her best to avoid anyone and everyone. 

But Aria can no longer hide when Jade, one of the few girls at school who ever showed her any kindness, disappears. Any time Aria overhears a question about Jade, she inadvertently reveals something new, a clue or hint as to why Jade vanished. But like stray pieces from different puzzles, her words never present a clear picture.

Then there’s Alex, damaged and dangerous, but the first person other than Jade to stand up for her. And Will, who offers a bond that seems impossible for a girl who’s always been alone. Both were involved with Jade. Aria may be the only one who can find out what happened, but the closer she gets to solving the crime, the more she becomes a target. Not everyone wants the truth to come out.

And now to hand things over to Kimberly!

What’s in a Name?

Coming up with character names is always an interesting process. Like in all my books, ASK ME’s character’s names came from a mix of sources. I am incredibly thankful to CJ Redwine (author of Defiance) for helping me come up with Aria’s (the main character) name. It’s perfect for her, the girl who hides behind music, who goes through life apart from others. She is a melody sung solo, a self-contained piece of music for a single voice. Aria can also mean noble, air, or lioness. All of those things work really well for this girl who is an oracle, not by choice but by birth.

William means strong-willed warrior and Will from the book is definitely confident in himself. I also had a good friend in middle school and high school with that name (though he was as completely unlike Will in the book as he could be).

Both of the main male characters in the book, actually, have strong names. Alexander (Alex) is another powerful name. Think of the famous Alexander the Great. The name itself means “defender” or “defender of men.” Alex is also named after a good friend of mine from high school (though, again, he’s not much like his namesake since my friend was more of a skateboard punk rocker who has grown up to be a real-life version of The Dude).

Delilah in the book is actually named after the author Delilah Dawson, a writer friend of mine. Aria’s Granddad is also named after a family friend named Porter (who was just as irascible in real life as the one in the book). Mrs. Rogers, Aria’s art teacher, is named after the art teacher I had in high school. Shelley is named after one of my loyal readers who volunteered it for use on my Facebook Fan Page (even though I warned her I couldn’t guarantee the character would be nice).

Aria’s grandmother’s name is Ellie, which means “bright shining one” or “shining light.” I like to think that she’s a bit of a beacon for Aria, even if Aria doesn’t always see it.

Even the town’s name (Lake Mariah) has a meaning for me. The town is loosely based on a real location in Florida (Lake Placid), but the image I have held in my mind from the beginning is of a girl with her hair blowing in the wind. Bear with me here...there’s an old movie with a young Clint Eastwood called Paint Your Wagon and there’s a song in it named “They Call the Wind Mariah” sung by Harve Presnell. Really great song. Very roundabout, I admit, but it works for me since it is both a famous song and has to do with the wind.

It’s a bit of a mish-mash of deeper meanings and personal memories, but that’s how it often goes!

About the author:
Kimberly Pauley is the award-winning author of Sucks to Be Me, which was honored on the YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers list. Born in California, she has lived everywhere from Florida to Chicago and has now gone international to live in London with her husband and son. She is also the founder of YA Books Central, one of the first and largest teen book websites in the world. Visit her online at www.kimberlypauley.com.

For more on Kimberly you can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. To check out an excerpt of Ask Me, visit the official SoHo Teen page here.

Big, big thanks to Kimberly for being on the blog today and thanks to the folks over at SoHo Teen for setting it up!

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