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#AmWriting - Barbara Underwood on Characters: their Names and Importance in the Writing Process | The Rhuna Series Book Tour | Silver Dagger Book Tours Presents Urban Fantasy #Paranormal #YA

The Rhuna series by  Barbara Underwood ( young adult, urban fantasy, paranormal)  is on virtual book tour and stops today at Readeropolis. ...

The Rhuna series by Barbara Underwood (young adult, urban fantasy, paranormal) is on virtual book tour and stops today at Readeropolis. Check out a guest post from the author below. Enjoy! 

Don't forget to enter for a chance to win the $20 Amazon GC giveaway and follow the Silver Dagger book tour (for other dates see the link at the bottom of the post).

Characters:  their Names and Importance in the Writing Process

What’s in a name?  A common question with answers that run surprisingly deep.  Names are like brands or images, and a name that’s easy to remember, stands out or has a nice ring to it immediately have a positive effect on those who hear or read the name.  Why else do many actors (and authors!) change their names if their real ones sound ordinary, strange or even funny?  With this in mind, I always consider the names of my characters very carefully, and it was an extra challenge because the setting is fantasy – or alternate history at best, so a common name like Bob or Jane just wouldn’t fit.

Although there are some great websites that generate character names of all sorts, I found that they didn’t help me at all, and so I come up with my character’s names the old-fashioned way:  just thinking, jotting them down and tossing them around in my head.  Sometimes I change a letter or two to see if the name sounds better, and then just thought about the “feel” of the name – what kind of personality the sound of the name conjures up in the mind.    When I feel reasonably happy with a new name, I google it to make sure it isn’t already “taken” by some other author or film-maker, and if it’s reasonably uncommon or even has no google search results, I’ll take it!

This is the approach I used for ‘personal’ names like Rhuna.  But in world of the Atlan Empire (Atlantean Empire) people had a more complicated formal name by which they were known (I made that bit up – but how knows what it was really like in Atlantis?!) such as Keeper of Wisdom.  This idea just came to me one day when I was thinking of how to make Atlan names stand apart from every other name, and it seemed to fit perfectly.  Atlans are given a formal name or title when they have shown a certain trait or quality.  Hence names like Guardian of Harmony, Resolver of Disputes and Wanderer of Plains.  But some names are less precise such as Softness of the Clouds, Peace of the Valley and Melody of the Dawn.

Once the characters are created and named, they have a tendency to take over their own destiny as the story is written.  This is because the characters are given certain basic traits (which often match their names) and as events unfold, I have to consider how each character would react to this event depending on their personality.  I think it’s important to keep the characters true to themselves and let them grow and change as the story unfolds, just as it would be for real-life people who are constantly growing and changing as they go through life.

Sometimes, certain characters have actually determined the outcome of a sub-plot due to their own individual view of a matter, and many times, when I’ve had to consider the next steps in a story and how each character would be affected, would they feel and react, I’ve been shown several alternate paths the story could take.   So I really must give some of the credit to the characters who have come alive on the pages of RHUNA!

Rhuna – Keeper of Wisdom
A Quest For Ancient Wisdom Book 1
by Barbara Underwood
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy, Paranormal 

In the ancient, mystical past when an idyllic Atlantis-like civilization flourished, its people with exceptional powers could build giant stone structures like the Pyramids, and transform elements such as sand to stone and metal to gold with concentrated energy of the mind. 

This utopian Atlan Empire is rocked when one of its most preeminent Masters rebels and seeks to subvert the ideals of Atlan society. Roaming the countryside in a black robe, misusing his powers on innocent people, he becomes known as the dreaded Dark Master.

On a distant and isolated island on the fringes of the Atlan Empire, a young girl named Rhuna comes of age when she meets a man from Atlán and learns that her father was an Atlan Master who was killed in his attempt to destroy the Dark Master.

Journeying across oceans and ancient worlds, Rhuna learns to master her inherent mental powers, transforming elements and summoning visions by means of the Gazing of the Waters. Unlike her peers, however, Rhuna discovers she has an extra power, namely the ability to summon visions mentally, without incantations or powders.

When the Dark Master’s activities become a threat to the peaceful Atlan Empire, the Atlan Masters come to realize that they cannot defeat him without Rhuna’s special visionary powers to observe the Dark Master’s activity and whereabouts.

The first book in this extraordinary Urban Fantasy series lays the foundations of the Atlan Empire and Rhuna’s world, and even when the Dark Master appears to have been defeated, secret and sinister powers continue to threaten the ancient Utopia.

Rhuna- Crossroads
A Quest For Ancient Wisdom Book 2

This exciting second book in the Rhuna YA Urban Fantasy Series can also be read as a standalone novel. 

Some years have passed since Rhuna helped to defeat the Dark Master in her new home of Atlán, and now Rhuna has a teenage daughter who accompanies her on an assignment in Ancient Egypt to investigate some disturbing reports.

She soon discovers an astonishing underground network of the Dark Master's followers, along with the secret group of Atlans dedicated to stopping them. In the process of trying to carry out her assignment, Rhuna is confronted with enormous challenges that could drastically change her entire life and everything she has ever believed in!

Rhuna – The Star Child
A Quest For Ancient Wisdom Book 3

This thrilling sequel to Rhuna: Crossroads is set in mystical Ancient Egypt where Black Magic was developed by the followers of the legendary villain, The Dark Master. As strange and frightening curses plague the population, Rhuna discovers the underground organization that performs this uncanny new magic, but she can only combat it with the help of her long-lost father. Having learned from her father amazing new skills to empower her on the Astral Plane, Rhuna once again strives to preserve peace and harmony in the idyllic Atlan civilization. 

Far more challenging than fighting powerful Dark Forces, however, is Rhuna’s personal anguish when her daughter becomes involved with the leader of the Black Magic movement, and the once-perfect Atlan society based on utopian principles begins to crumble all around her. Shocking events escalate Rhuna’s world to a breathless climax as she and her family undergo a momentous upheaval, and she is forced to make great personal sacrifices for her loved ones.

Rhuna – New Horizons
A Quest For Ancient Wisdom Book 4

The fourth book in the series, Rhuna: New Horizons can also be read as a standalone novel. 

After sacrificing a life of comfort and security for her daughter’s sake, Rhuna and her family go into exile and start a new life in the former Atlan colony of Varappa. This faraway land is a frontier of new technology such as air travel, loops in time and a society apparently flourishing without a governing body of any kind. 

On the surface, everyone appears to thrive in this liberated society, but this kind of free thinking is fertile ground for the Dark Master and his followers. Just when Rhuna and her family settle into their beautiful new lakeside home, strange things begin to happen. Powerful conjurers cause upheaval with their sinister magic, driving people from their homes.

An isolated society claiming to adhere to the ways of the First Atlans, appear to be fighting a losing battle against these followers of the Dark Master. While attempting to find a diplomatic solution to the escalating conflict, Rhuna faces great challenges in her personal life. Aradin’s love for her has cooled off inexplicably, and Lozira’s emotional wellbeing teeters on a precarious threshold. In desperation, Rhuna combines her magical powers and Varappan technology to do the unthinkable. What she does, however, is forbidden, and brings about a rift between her and her own father. Rhuna may have headed down a path from which there is no turning back…

Barbara Underwood was born and raised in Sydney, Australia; the only child of German migrants who provided a rich and diverse childhood environment. Already in third grade she wrote a short children's book for a class project and realized that she was deeply satisfied with creating stories. In sixth grade, for another class project, her teacher was so impressed by the lengthy story she submitted, that he commented at the end "I see we are going to have another author". 

Over the years Barbara kept writing one thing or another, but only as a hobby while she pursued other interests and goals. In the 1990s, she completed a correspondence course in professional writing, doing it in her spare time after work. This led to having a few short stories published, but what she really wanted to do was write a proper novel.

At this time, Barbara had travelled extensively and gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in subjects that held special appeal for her, namely ancient history, myths and legends (such as Atlantis, the builders of megaliths around the world), folklore (the belief that a god-like race gave mankind its technology), human psychology and the culture of other countries. What better subject for her first novel than to combine all these elements into one big adventure!

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

1 comment

Get carried away with love!