Sunday, November 2, 2014

Guest Post & #Giveaway with Shallee McArthur (The Unhappening of Genesis Lee)!

The Unhappening of Genesis Lee
by Shallee McArthur
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: November 18th 2014

Seventeen-year-old Genesis Lee has never forgotten anything. As one of the Mementi—a small group of genetically-enhanced humans—Gena remembers everything with the help of her Link bracelets, which preserve memories perfectly. But Links can be stolen, and six people have already lost their lives to a memory thief, including Gena’s best friend.

Anyone could be next. Which is why Gena is less than pleased to meet a strange but charming boy named Kalan who claims that they’ve not only met, but that Gena knows who the thief is.

The problem is, Gena doesn’t remember Kalan, she doesn’t remember seeing the thief, and she doesn’t know why she’s forgetting things— or how much else she might forget. As growing tensions between Mementi and ordinary humans drive the city of Havendale into chaos, Gena and Kalan team up to search for the thief. And as Gena loses more memories, they realize they have to solve the mystery fast.

Because Gena’s life is unhappening around her.

Let me tell you a secret. I named the main character in my book specifically so her name would fit right in the title.
In retrospect, this was a potentially stupid idea.
I knew I wanted the title to be The Unhappening of [First name, Last Name], and I wanted a name that had a flowing sound to it, and just the right amount of syllables so the title would roll off the tongue. But…I knew the title would possibly change if the book got published. I didn’t care. I did it anyway. (And in the end, the publisher even kept the title!)
So she became Genesis Lee. And it fit not just the title, but her character. It came to have a deeper meaning in the story. It echoed the themes of forgetting, of things ending, and of being forced to create new things in their place—a new beginning, just like her name implies. The question is, then, how do you do that? And is it even necessary?
Last question first: technically, no. It’s not necessary, and if you don’t want to do it, you don’t have to. But let’s look at why you might want to, and how to do it.
Reason number one: You can create depth and hidden meaning in your story through names. Who else felt a chill when you realized the name Voldemort means “flight from death”? You can echo themes, like my character’s name did. Names can be like tiny little Easter eggs for readers. 
How to: You’ll need an idea of what themes or meanings you want to be hinting at, first off. This can be hard if you’re a pantser, but odds are you at least have some idea of what you’re trying to communicate in your story. There are any number of baby name sites on the internet that let you search by meaning. Think of variations on your theme, and start searching. You can even look at other languages, like J.K. Rowling did (Vol de mort literally means “flight from death” in French).
Reason number two: Names can reflect the character themselves. Either in meaning, as above, or in sound. Remember how I wanted my character’s name to sound right in the title? When I finally came up with it, I wanted Gena’s character to reflect the flowing sound of her name—so I made her a dancer. (Not just for that reason—I also always wanted to be a dancer!) 
How to: Pay attention to how names sound. Names can be a sort of onomatopoeia reflection of the character. Certain sounds imply different things to our brains—hard consanants can reflect a tough or harsh character, slimy sounds make us assume a character is slimy, etc. Think Lucius Malfoy. Ew. We get a hint of who he is even before we meet him. Go to those name-search sites, and you can often also search for names with certain sounds! If you’re doing fantasy and sci fi, you can even play with creating brand new names (within reason—and worthy of its own blog post!)
A caution: There’s potential in this for your character names to be all over the place. If you have a Jenny and a Maud and a Kardanlin, readers are going to (at best) roll their eyes. Societies and cultures have name trends and language rules, so be sure if you’re going outside of your book’s “name norms,” you have a good reason! (Hint: generation and cultural differences can be good reasons.)  
If you don’t know enough about your book at the character-naming stage to do these things, don’t worry! Often, the story will grow around your names, and they’ll fit perfectly anyway. And if they don’t, I’ll tell you another secret.
You can always change them.

Shallee McArthur originally wanted to be a scientist, until she discovered she liked her science best in fictional form. When she’s not writing young adult science fiction and fantasy, she’s attempting to raise her son and daughter as proper geeks. A little part of her heart is devoted to Africa after volunteering twice in Ghana. She has a degree in English from Brigham Young University and lives in Utah with her husband and two children. She is represented by Hannah Bowman of Liza Dawson Associates. Her YA sci fi novel, THE UNHAPPENING OF GENESIS LEE, debuts from Sky Pony Press Nov. 4, 2014. And because people always ask, her name is pronounced "shuh-LEE." But she answers to anything that sounds remotely close.

Prize pack 1: 
Signed hardcover copy of The Unhappening of Genesis Lee, Link bracelet 
(where Gena stores her memories in the book), and a full swag pack.

Prize pack 2: 
$10 gift card to the online bookstore of your choice, Link bracelet 
(where Gena stores her memories in the book), and a full swag pack

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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