Jan Sikes’s #NewRelease: Ghostly Interference

Ciao, amici! I’m so happy to get to introduce another many-time-commenter/first-time-guest-poster today. Jan Sikes is a name many of you are probably familiar with. She’s a wonderfully talented author who is incredibly supportive of other writers in our community, and I’m thrilled to get to return the favor and show her some support today.

Won’t you join me? Please help me welcome Jan as she talks about Ghostly Interference and her process for naming her lead characters. Take it away, Jan!


Thank you, Staci, for giving me your blog platform to talk about my new book!

When I first started writing Ghostly Interference, I could not come up with a name for my male character. Every name I thought of did not fit him. I started out calling him Lance.

I confided in my sister, Linda Broday, who is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, about the struggle I was having with finding this character’s name.

She suggested that I interview him and ask for his name. I know that sounds crazy to some folks, but you authors know precisely what I’m talking about. Of course, this interview takes place solely inside your head. But I thought that was a good idea.

One morning, I was thinking about it in the shower, and I swear to you, this really happened. My character’s mother, Charlotte, began to tell me her story, which included her child’s name and how she decided on the name. I had to hurry up and finish my shower so I could write it all down!

That interview gave me what I needed and gave me in-depth insight into her backstory, which turned out to be an integral part of my plot.

At any rate, she told me when she was a teenager, she had the opportunity to meet Mick Jagger backstage at a Rolling Stones concert, and it was there she vowed if she ever had a son, she’d name him Jag.


There was the name I was after! So, Jag Peters is the male character in Ghostly Interference.

The female character’s name, Rena Jett, came effortlessly from the minute I conceived the story idea.

I don’t pretend to know the process, but I love the results.

I’m curious. How do your character’s names come to you? Have you ever had to struggle with a name like I did?


Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy-apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.

Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?






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I love character interviews. I’ve been known to do them once in a while, myself, and I always find them quite illuminating. Thank you, Jan, for sharing your process. I think those names are a great fit. And I wish you the best of luck with your new release.

What do you think, amici? What’s your process for naming characters? What do you think of Jag and Rena? How about you use the comment box below to start a chat with Jan? While you’re at it, maybe use the like, share, and buy buttons, too? We’d both be grateful. Grazie!

Published by Staci Troilo

A writer fascinated with interpersonal relationships, the importance of family, and the relevance of heritage. Learn more at https://stacitroilo.com.

93 thoughts on “Jan Sikes’s #NewRelease: Ghostly Interference

  1. Love the name Jag, Jan! Did you get the surname Jett, which I also love, from Joan Jett?

    Character interviews really work, and so do showers! It’s crazy how many plot details come to us in the shower, isn’t it? To answer your question, when writing my first Grafton County novel I searched my spice rack for the main character’s name. I knew I wanted an earthy name for Sage, and the spice rack seemed like the perfect place to find it.

    Happy holidays, ladies!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Writing historical fiction does pose a challenge. I’m told there are websites devoted to names specifically for time periods and regions, but I’ve never explored them.

      Thanks, Ilona.


  2. I know exactly what you mean. My characters talk to me, too. I had a hard time figuring out the names for Sophia’s sidekicks. Her name came to me easily. It’s when their backstory grew that I understood the significance of choosing their names. That’s one of the fun parts of creating stories. Great post, Jan! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’d tell you to pick one and stick with it, but if it’s wrong, it’s wrong. Especially when you get to the halfway point and realize you have seven characters with 5-letter names that all begin with K.

      Thanks, Jacqui.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the story about learning your characters names. I had an issues with a heroine’s name once–started out one name but the story just couldn’t get traction. I tried a couple different ones until I settled on another — and that name worked! After that, the heroine just unfolded as naturally as I could have wished. Best of luck to you with the book!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very true, Diana. I love it when they come right away, but the effort I had to put into this one not only got me the character name but another integral part of the story plot! Thank you so much for stopping by!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Ha! I made it to your blog through the reader- go me 🙂
    Great idea on interviewing your characters, Jan, though I’ve never had a shower epiphany, lol. I do keep a list of names I like from books or television shows and fall back on them if my characters give me grief. I have more issues with last names than first- anyone else?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Jacquie. You listed a great resource for character names – movies and TV shows! Actually, I can’t say I’ve struggled with last names. Mainly, I try to make sure that none of the character’s first or last names sound the same or start with the same letter. Thank you for making the effort to get to Staci’s blog and for leaving such a great comment! Hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. What a fascinating way for a name to arrive, Jan. I don’t try to figure out where these things come from. Sometimes I wonder if we are just telling a story from another place or dimension. Alot of my ideas come fom the shower or when I first wake up. I hope to not forget it before I get it down. For names I usually know the first letter and go from there. Great post!

    Thanks for hosting, Staci 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I truly agree with you, Denise. It’s as if we are channels for someone from another dimension to tell their story and I love that! I’ve always believed if I am given a story idea, it’s my duty to follow it through. I may not know the reason, but I love the results! Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. What an amazing post. I love how Jag’s name came to be. That is such an amazing story. I am so very proud of you. I know this has been a long hard road for you to get this book out, but you’ve done it and skies the limit for you now.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Super post, you two! I’ve never had one of my characters talk to me in the shower, but I have had a dream where one character told me about the next story I should write and who it should focus on. I started the book as soon as I woke up that morning.

    Lovely to learn more about this very intriguing book! Wishing you huge success with the release, Jan, and can’t wait to read it, myself! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, the shower might be too intimate a place for a character to pop up. But it does add a sense of immediacy. I’m glad you remembered your dream and were able to get right to work in the morning on your inspiration. Thanks, Marcia.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I completely understand, Jan – I get some of my best ideas in the shower. I also interview my characters sometimes. They’ll tell you all kinds of things if you listen. Congrats on the new release!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I love the idea of interviewing a character. Yes, they do “speak” to authors. How cool your character’s mother met Mick Jagger. Great character name.

    Best of luck with the new release, Jan, and a big thanks to Stacy for hosting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I thought it was really cool how Jag’s name came about, Joan. And, because of that little chat in the shower, I wrote a short story as part of an anthology, telling Charlotte’s escapades. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. It’s so cool that “Charlotte” visited Jan one day in the shower. I don’t have interesting character experiences like that. As for names, I do keep my eyes open: gravestones, news stories, stuff like that. A big congrats to Jan on Ghostly Interference!

    Liked by 2 people

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