Guest Post: Libby Mercer, author of The Karmic Connection

Born and raised in the Midwest, Libby Mercer’s adventurous spirit kicked in after graduating from high school, and she’s since lived in Boston, NYC and London. For several years, Libby worked in fashion – first as a journalist and then as a shopkeeper, and for a while she dabbled in design. Libby has been a writer for as long as she can remember. She penned her first book at age seven – a picture book entitled BIG and small. Countless numbers of stories later, her first book, Fashioning a Romance, was published in May 2012, followed by Unmasking Maya and The Karmic Connection. Libby lives in San Francisco.

The Name Game

I have the most difficult time coming up with titles for my books. (In fact, I’m currently holding a contest on my blog, asking people to suggest a title for my next release, but more on that in a bit.) Naming my characters, however, has never been a problem.

When I first started thinking up the plot for The Karmic Connection, I had my heroine’s name in mind almost immediately. I knew I wanted to call her Lorraine. My dad had a hippie friend named Lorraine, and even though I haven’t seen her since I was probably eight years old, her name seemed perfect for this character – a yoga and Pilates instructor at a wellness center in the Vermont mountains.

My hero’s name didn’t come to me immediately. Although I often name my secondary characters after people I know in real life, I prefer to give my primary characters names that I don’t associate with any actual people – or not people I’ve been in contact with for a long time, anyway. In the end, I chose Adam Stowe. What’s significant about this is his last name. Stowe is a family name – my great-grandmother was Lucy Stowe.

The Karmic Connection is a little different from your standard romance in that I have a large cast of supporting characters, and I had fun with naming them all. There’s Celeste, the woman who runs the wellness center. As a New Age guru-type, I knew this was the one and only possible name for her. In addition to Adam, the guests at the wellness center are Naomi, Joel, Frank, Serena, David, Mandy and Jessica.

For Naomi, I wanted a somewhat unusual name. In high school, I had a lovely, soft-spoken friend called Naomi with whom I’ve since lost touch. In my mind, she shares certain traits with my character, and so that one fit right away. For Joel, it wasn’t quite so easy. I actually used an Internet name search site and looked at hundreds of options before it brought up Joel. Now, I had a friend in college called Joel, and he is nothing like the character in my book. The character is actually a bit more like my ex-boyfriend from back in the day, given that they both had blond dreadlocks. What can I say? I was young. And he had a bit of a Kurt Cobain look about him… But I digress. Even though the real Joel had nothing in common with my character, the name felt right, so I ran with it.

I know I’ve met Franks before, but none that jump out from my memories. And this is the reason I chose Frank for the name of this particular character. I wanted something serious and classic, but also something that could sort of fade into the background. He’s that type of character. As for David, well… when I named this character, it was a subtle shout-out to my dad. Although he’s not what you’d call a “crazy hippie weirdo”, my dad has always identified with the counter culture. It seemed only fitting that I named this particular character after him.

I’ve never known a Serena in real life, but her name came to me almost immediately. A gentle, elderly lady, she’s been into the New Age movement for decades, just like Celeste has. And so I wanted to give her a Celeste-like name. Serena was perfect for her. As for Mandy, don’t laugh but… I named her after one of my dolls from childhood. I don’t know what possessed me to do this, but it hit me and there was no turning back. And finally there’s Jessica. Naturally, I’ve met loads of Jessicas during my lifetime, and in a way this is the point. She’s sort of an everywoman (or an every young woman – she’s only eighteen).

I don’t know what the term is for secondary-secondary characters. What I mean are the characters whose parts are very, very small. In film, they’d be called walk-on roles. For whatever reason, I love assigning these characters names of people that I’m not so far removed with, but having a little fun with it. I’ll explain. In The Karmic Connection, for example, there are two characters called Jamie and Leroy. Provincial family men from rural Vermont (lumberjack types) they’re farmers by trade, as well as volunteer EMT workers. I specifically named them after my friends who I’m still in touch with – a fabulous young gay couple I know from London who are quite possibly Lady Gaga’s biggest fans.

In this way, I get to amuse myself by infusing my fiction with real life associations. And then there’s that little Hitchcockian thing I do. Libby Mercer is a pseudonym. My real name is Anna, and every Libby Mercer book has an extremely minor character called Anna in it. It’s just sort of my way of laying claim to my work, I think. In The Karmic Connection, Anna is Lorraine’s sister. And for the record, she’s nothing like me. She’s a bit of a mess. Not that I have it all together or anything, but I don’t have the fictional Anna’s problems, thank goodness.

So there you have it – a little glimpse at why I chose the names I did for my characters in this book. If you get a chance, I’d love it if you would pop over to my blog and offer any suggestions for titles. I’ve got a rather fun prize for the winner, I think. Thanks so much for having me here today, Kristin!



about the book

The Karmic Connection 
By: Libby Mercer
Genre: Chick Lit

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What is the universe up to?

Guilty of nothing more than working too much – or so they say – Adam Stowe is dumped at a “wellness center” in the middle of nowhere by a couple of concerned colleagues. When he meets Lorraine, the beautiful and bewitching yoga instructor, his spirits start to lift, but once he discovers what a flighty fruitcake she is, they drop back down to subterranean levels.

For Lorraine Jameson, Luna Wellness Center was a beacon of solace when her life was falling apart, and she can’t stand the way Adam’s toxic energy is poisoning the peace. He embodies everything negative about the life she discarded eighteen months ago. Despite being fiercely attracted to the arrogant man, she’s determined not to let Adam Stowe anywhere near her heart.

Adam and Lorraine couldn’t be more unsuitable as a potential couple… so why is the universe so dead set on uniting these two?

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