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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

‘For Better, For Worse’
by Jane Isaac
Blog Tour/Guest Post
“The Challenge Of Naming Characters”

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Wow! I have been chosen to share the opening spot for this amazing Blog Tour and for my part, I would like to extend thanks to author Jane Isaac, for submitting this great Guest Post, for me to share with you all.

My thanks go out to both the Aria Fiction and NetGalley teams, for including me in this excellent Blog Tour.

A full list of all the Blog Tour sites to visit can be found at the end of this post!

FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE – (DC Beth Chamberlain #2)

Cover Image of the book 'For Better, For Worse' by the author Jane IsaacStuart Ingram was once a respected local councillor…

The first time the police knocked on Gina’s door, they arrested her husband.

The second time, they accused him of child abuse.

But he died a guilty man.

This time, the police are here for Gina – to tell her that her husband is dead. Murdered, just two weeks before his trial.

Gina always stood by her husband. Even when everyone else walked away. She believed the trial would clear his name. But now Stuart is dead.

And his wife is the suspect.

It’s a race against time for DC Beth Chamberlain to uncover the truth – especially when a second man turns up dead.

Domestic noir meets police procedural in this pacy thriller.

Previously published as Presumed Guilty


Image of author Jane IsaacJane lives in rural Northamptonshire, UK with her detective husband (very helpful for research!), daughter and dog, Bollo.

Having no fixed idea of her calling from a young age, Jane ambled through life, fell upon a career in the civil service, made great friends, met her husband and holidayed frequently – all endless fun. But feeling there was something missing and in an attempt to fill the void, she took up numerous courses including: French, art, law, pottery, personnel management and even sign language.

The turning point for Jane, eventually came almost twenty years ago, when she and her husband took a year out to travel the world and a friend gave her a journal to keep as a present. The photos they took drew on memories but, even years later, when reading the journal, she realised the power and emotions her words could still evoke, and so began her love affair with writing.

She enrolled on a creative writing course and started writing articles for newspapers and magazines. Then she discovered fiction writing and, in 2007, embarked on her first novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, which was picked up by an American publisher.

Since then, she has never looked back!

Keep up with all Jane’s latest news on her website

Connect with Jane on Facebook

Follow Jane on Twitter

“I’ve always been captivated by what happens when extraordinary events touch the lives of ordinary people. For the most part, our lives are relatively untouched by the police. What happens if we are forced into such a situation? How would we react? My novels are detective fiction with a psychological edge, inspired by this fascination.”


Image of author Jane Isaac


“The Challenge of Naming Characters”

Whether embarking on a series or a standalone novel, naming characters can sometimes feel as important to authors as naming our own children. Names help to define the individual and form the basis of the many layers it takes to build them. In essence, a strong name makes the character real in our minds. And if they aren’t real to us, as the author, they won’t feel real to our readers.

So, what makes a memorable name? As always, there is an element of subjectivity to our perception. Our brains often link the words in our memory, relating them to someone we once knew. Whether or not we like the character can depend on our experience of the ‘real’ person with that name. Sometimes a name can fit like the perfect glove, and then, as the character develops in the story the glove gets loose, worn at the ends, and needs replacing.

When I embarked on my new Family Liaison Officer series, I spent much time mulling over the name for my lead character. I considered famous literary names, those that have stayed with me long after I finished the story;

‘Professor James Moriarty’   – Sherlock Holmes novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

‘Lincoln Rhyme’                          – Jeffery Deaver’s crime protagonist.

‘Temple Gault’                             – Patricia Cornwell’s Dr Kay Scarpetta series.

‘Heathcliff’                                     – Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.

‘Granny (Esme) Weatherwax’ – Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series’

Choosing names, especially for lead characters isn’t easy. I always feel obliged to research them – to ensure that they aren’t linked with a major court case or claimed by a famous actor or academic, all elements that might distract a reader.

It’s also useful to remember that names, like many other aspects of society, follow fashions. It’s unlikely we’d call a twenty-three-year-old estate agent in the UK Sharon or Michelle. But there were plenty of babies given these names in the late sixties and early seventies, so if they were fifty-three those names might seem more appropriate. I find an internet search of popular baby names chosen in the same year as my character is born, helps to place the era. Of course, there will always be exceptions – those named after famous people or members of the family or after someone close – and in those cases we can make reference to the reasons for the differences in our books. Parental choice might form the fabric of the story and help readers to identify with your character. It’s all about believability.

In the end, I opted for a combination of traditional and conventional for my lead, Detective Constable Beth Chamberlain. This was the start of a crime series; I needed a strong name with staying power for future books. With Beth I thought of Queen Elizabeth the first, and second. Both strong, independent women with a passion that pushed them to go that extra mile. My Beth is holding down one of the trickiest detective jobs in the police force as Family Liaison Officer for the Homicide and Serious Incident Team. Occasionally adopting unorthodox methods to make a difference and keep us safe.

Chamberlain was the surname of my first English teacher in school who introduced me to Pride and Prejudice and Little Women, which remain two of my favourite stories.

For Better, For Worse is the second book in the DC Beth Chamberlain series and a third will be released later this year, introducing yet more characters to the fore. In For Better, For Worse we follow the police investigation through Beth’s eyes, and the rest of the story through Gina Ingram’s point of view as she fights mercilessly to prove her husband’s innocence. Gina’s ambitious and cares deeply for her family. It took a long time and a lot of headaches to settle on the right name for her character, I can tell you!

Image of the Blog Tour banner for the book 'For Better, For Worse' by author Jane Isaac




Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • Sounds like an author I need to add to my TBR list. I love that her husband is a detective. Thanks for telling us about her new book, Yvonne.

    • Hi Mary,

      If you are quite liking the sound of this series now (I see that you have added it to your Goodreads list), you might recall visiting a couple of months ago, when I featured the fist book in the Beth Chamberlain series, ‘The Other Woman’


      If there is no prescribed backstory, I tend to be happy dipping in and out of a series, however I know that some of our fellow bloggers like to read a series in strict order. I’m not sure which side of the fence you are on in that debate?

      I hope that you and yours are staying safe during these difficult times 🙂

  • At the risk of sounding like a broken record…. another wonderful guest author post, Yvonne!! I’ve always thought naming characters in a book would be such fun and this post makes me realize how much more there is to it than just picking names we like. You know I like reading books in order, but I’ll still be interested to know how well this works as a stand-alone.

    • Hi Kelly,

      Alas! This will be the last author guest post from me for a while, as, like everything else, the publishing world is hit by the fall-out from the coronavirus epidemic!

      I guess book publishing is just like the film industry in that it relies on advance cover releases, blog tours and promotional events, to help get the word out about a new book. Simply plonking a book on the shelves of a book shop or on-line store, isn’t going to sell you many copies on its own, so wherever possible it is worth postponing the launch until better times return!

      I do have some dates already booked for May, so fingers crossed those go ahead and meantime, those of us on Twitter have vowed to get as many tweets as possible out there, to spread the word about any new books and authors who appear on the scene.

      To be fair, one of my regular publishers, ‘Head Of Zeus’, did launch another three new books on NetGalley this week, so I am stocked up even further for my 12 week lockdown with hubbie, who is classed in the ‘vulnerable’ group of the population!

      I am definitely not going to be short of any books to read and review, as my TBR pile, both real and virtual, is overflowing, but you do know how much I enjoy featuring a good author guest post!

      Take Care and stay safe 🙂

  • Very interesting hearing about how this author chooses her character’s names. She’s so right about choosing the name to suit the person’s age, a few times I’ve been thrown right out when I felt the name was very inappropriate. That’s the trouble with being so old you remember which names were popular at certain times. When my girls were born it was all Kellys and Kirstys, a decade later and Kylies were all the rage. Not that I chose any of those. Very nice blog tour post, Yvonne.

    • Hi Cath,

      It’s so interesting to see how the next few generations down choose names for their children. They seem to have gone through the silly stage of naming their children after celebrities or soap series characters, although my great niece is called Summer, which I must admit to doing a double take about when they told us!

      Many of the very old fashioned names are re-appearing, especially for girls, like Elsie and Ada! My great nephew is called Joshua, which is much more acceptable.

      I don’t think that hubbie will still be around when the re-emergence of names like David happens, so he is obviously one of a dying breed.

      I never really thought about the concept of character naming in books before, so Jane’s logical thought patterns meant that she came up with a truly original guest post, which was so interesting!

      Thanks for taking the time to check out the post and I hope that you and yours stay safe during these troublesome times 🙂

  • Great guest post Yvonne, and I hope you enjoy this one. I always liked the name Heathcliff myself.
    I hope you are doing well. Take care of yourself.

    • Hi Naida,

      I’m a bit ‘nerdy’ when someone sets me an interesting conundrum to think about!

      “Heathcliff as a boys’ name is of Middle English origin, and its literal meaning is “cliff near a heath”.

      “Heathcliff’s complicated, mesmerizing, consumable, and altogether bizarre nature makes him a rare character, with components of both the hero and villain.”

      “People having the name Heathcliff generally originate from the United Kingdom, although at over the 60,000th ranking in the name charts, it is not very popular.”

      “From 1880 to 2017, the Social Security Administration has recorded 15 babies born with the first name Heathcliff in the United States.”

      Sorry! I couldn’t resist sharing those snippets of info. 🙂

      A bit of fun in these otherwise troubled and difficult times ahead! I hope that you and yours stay safe and that we shall have the opportunity for a little more blogging time, whilst ‘Social Distancing’ prevails 🙂

      • Lol Yvonne thank you for the Heathcliff name facts. I’ve never met anyone in real life with the name but there was a popular cartoon cat named Heathcliff when I was little. His favorite thing to eat was lasagna! Lolol.
        Happy Sunday 🙂

        • Not sure that cartoon series ever hit the UK screens, but I’ll need to check with my nieces and nephews, as they are closer in age to yourself, than I am!

          Have a safe and happy Sunday 🙂

Written by Yvonne