Wednesday, October 31, 2007


It's that time of year: NaNoWriMo. November is National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to produce 50,000 words in 30 days. If you write 1,667 words a day, every day, you'll reach the goal. If you take weekends off, you'll have to write 2273 words on every remaining day.

Let's put that into context: I would have to write a chapter a day to reach the finish line. When I worked on THE PROTECTOR, I wrote a chapter a week. Ouch.

I'm not a fast writer. I'm not a "write now, revise later" writer. I'm a "agonize over the right words in one sentence until it's perfect and I can move on to the next sentence" writer. I draft and revise paragraph by paragraph. That takes its time.

BUT I expected to have a finished novel by the end of the year, and the end of the year is only 61 days away. Crap! If I produce just around 1000 words a day—no taking weekends or holidays off—I can still make my deadline, with plenty of stuff to edit and revise (i.e. delete). Hmm …

I won't sign up for NaNoWriMo officially, I think, but I'll do my darndest to work toward those 50,000 words in November.

Friday, October 26, 2007


I’ve finally baptized my villain. Her name is Halley. Like the comet. Her official classification is vengeful stalker. She’s off her rocker.

I went through a number of names, but didn’t find one I really liked. I perused the Social Security’s Most Popular lists (for the 1980s) and consulted my Baby Names For The New Millenium book, but nothing I picked had that special feel to it. Names starting with S were out of the question (too many of those already) and nothing Spanish would work (too common on Guam). Eventually, out of desperation, and because I felt the strong urge to procrastinate, I browsed those It Happened The Year You Were Born sites. And voila, Halley, the comet (early 1986).

Halley is perfect. It’s not run of the mill (I think) and somewhat memorable, especially when paired with “you know, like the comet.” It fits the person I see in my mind.

I like naming characters. And of course, I completely over-research. Some characters are “born” with their names, some go through a few of them before I find the right one. In most cases, I have a name before I have a character. On one occasion I named a character after a person I actually know (Stoney), once I went with the suggestion of a friend (Ben, which is short for Benicio) and Halley’s last name came from a street sign (Krukowski).

I’ve had a number of discussions and e-mail exchanges about the correct spelling of Soren’s name. He has an umlaut in his name (you know, the pair of dots above a vowel). I compromised; his American passport has the Americanized spelling, while his Swedish passport shows the umlaut (not entirely realistic, but, hey, it’s fiction).

In other words: names are fun. And Halley is going to be a great villain.

more advance praise for THE PROTECTOR

The Protector delivers engaging characters, a fast-moving plot, and some very steamy love scenes. NL Gassert has crafted an exciting and entertaining romance that builds suspense and erotic tension with every turn of the page. Take it to bed … and plan on staying up. –Charles Casillo, author of The Fame Game