Sunday, October 30, 2016

Letter from Ramsgate...Suzan Lauder

Today is my stop for the blog tour for Letter from Ramsgate and it is the last official day of the tour. It has been a fun two weeks and I want to especially thank Suzan and all the bloggers for making it so nice. It has been great working with you again, Suzan.


Janet Taylor is special to me because she created the original cover art for Alias Thomas Bennet in lead pencil crayons from a photo of her son and granddaughter, and they weren’t in period costume! When she gave me free reign for a topic for the final blog post in this tour, I thought she might like to know the fun I had picking names for characters.

Isabel Younge (Artwork:
Eglee Auguie Ney, Duchese
d'Elchingen, 1st Princess de
la Moskowa by Baron Francois
Pascal Simon Gerard, 1808)
I already mentioned during this blog tour that Mrs. Younge was named Isabel after Isabella Thorpe from Northanger Abbey. This is partly as homage to the first Austen novel I read (and my second favourite Austen novel after P&P), and also just because I imagined a similar character. Her husband became Frederick purely because it was a name Austen used a few times.

Some names were just pulled out of the air. Mrs. Gardiner’s maiden name of Palmer, for example. Lady Edwina and the original Lady Cecilia also sounded right for the role. When I realized the potential confusion when referring to Lady C as being Lady Cecilia or Lady Catherine, I decided to 
change my new character. I found out that Amelia meant “rival” and it was perfect. Westhaven as the peerage name for Lady Amelia’s family sounded strong, steadfast, ancient, and loaded (as in money). The Westhavens’ surname, Goodhope, sounded about right for Elizabeth’s rival, particularly since I decided to characterize her as a more-suitable-than-Elizabeth love interest for Darcy to up the ante on the angst.

Baverstock came out of my head because it sounded like all those Regency romance names that start with B or D and end with –stock, or –stone, or –theringham, or similar. But Lady Edwina’s surname came from a real person: an English fellow I used to work with who was always professional, yet super warm and kind-hearted, Geoff Moore. This is an example of authors looking for a name that sounds right and running every possible name through their heads of people they know! There are old co-workers in some of my unpublished stories, too, and villains often wind up named after someone who “done me wrong!” Poor Miss Allesworthy got her name that way, though it’s disguised! On the flip side again, Jim Harding, also professional and kind, had a bon ton party at his home in Letter from Ramsgate.

Speaking of parties, when my editor was reading of the soirée at which Elizabeth first sees Lady Amelia and Lord Westhaven, she said I needed to name the hosts. Well, Gail Warner, I adjusted your name to make it at the Warreners’ home.

Henry Fitzwilliam, Lord Courtland, Mr.
Darcy's cousin and Colonel Firzwilliam's
older brother. (Actor Henry Cavill in
The Count of Monte Cristo.
The original plot beta for Letter from Ramsgate at AHA has the username defiantfalcon. That became the inspiration for Miss Falconer’s name (as well as her size and character!), and Laura was a pretty name to go with it. She married Lord Saye, in homage to Alex9903’s stories on AHA, but when A. D’Orazio decided to publish The Best Part of Love, that novel deserved to use it first, too.

I looked to Kilmarnock, Scotland, the area my Lauder ancestors came from, for ideas for alternatives. The lands around the town belong to the Duke of Portland, but I didn’t like that as a character name. Portland, OR, Portland, ME, or Portland cement came to mind. I scanned lists of names Jane Austen used, and she had a Mr. Courtland. This became the elder Fitzwilliam brother’s title name as a viscount. He was christened Henry after actor Henry Cavill, who I’ve always liked to see cast as Mr. Darcy (before the huge bulk of the action heroes roles) because he’s terribly handsome and close to the right age. Henry makes an even better future Earl of Matlock than Darcy in this story, as he’s more of a party guy. I think Amy wouldn’t mind him as Saye, either! Their children were top of my head, and not Friends and Happy Days!

Mrs. Crofton was characterized from my first landlady when I left home for college. She was 82 years of age and quite the pistol in her youth, and had lived in a town called Crofton. Another town, Frobisher Bay, is now Iqaluit—the ancient name given by the original Canadians has been re-established. The explorer gets to be Mr. Darcy’s university friend who made his fortune with Enos Collins in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Goldstone, Miss Barkwell, Miss Card, Mr. MacDonald, Lady Henrietta, Mr. Graystone, Miss Bond, and Miss Smart all come from me searching for English-sounding names among acquaintances, teachers, co-workers, and other people in my past again! Other names were more or less what just sprang to mind: servants Molly and Sarah, for example.
Noëlle is named after a real sloth at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, LA, and Chunee (Chuny) was a real Indian elephant who lived at the real Menagerie at Exeter ‘Change during the Regency period. Place names are all real—I tried to pick blocks where the characters would live or visit: Albion Place, Nelson Crescent, The Paragon, Bedford Square, Portman Square, and The Circus. The vessel Liverpool Packet and its story is real as well.

I hope this amused you! Thanks so much to everyone who has come out for the blog tour. You can still enter until November 3, 2016. Best thanks to Janet B. Taylor for organizing this amusement for all of us! Speaking of amusements, I’ll be posting a Letter from Ramsgate related original essay about the Menagerie and related modern historical bloggers’ links on my own blog (road trips with the redhead) on October 31, 2016 for those who have followed the blog tour. It’s like an amuse-bouche or lagniappe, a parting gift or a bonus. I hope you enjoy it.

Thank you, Suzan. I loved reading about names and your thoughts behind the process of choosing them for your characters. It did amuse and made me smile! :) I will enjoy this shared knowledge as I read your book. 


Book Blurb:

Sir, I am not known to you. I fear you may have concerns regarding some intelligence that recently came to me from your sister...
...a simple letter shatters illusions and turns the world upside down!
On holiday in Ramsgate, Elizabeth Bennet befriends shy, romantic Georgiana Darcy, who shares an adoring description of an ideal elder brother. When Georgiana discloses a secret infatuation with her brother’s “close friend” Mr. Wickham, Elizabeth’s altered perception of both men affects her actions and alliances.
The secret within an anonymous letter from Ramsgate ties Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth together but also separates them. A second missive unlocks the disguise, but Mr. Darcy realizes his true passions too late to assist Elizabeth in her darkest hour. Will the shocking disclosure of a forgotten letter transform his understanding of her heart and lead them to embrace their future?
Letter from Ramsgate is a Pride and Prejudice variation suitable for most audiences (youth and up).


Author Bio:
A love for Jane Austen’s novels and Regency and Austenesque romance novels inspired Suzan Lauder to write her own variations, which led her to a passion for Regency era history and costuming, as well as social media book marketing. She cherishes the many friends she’s made as a result of these interests.
Suzan is a member of JASNA, VIRA, RWA (PAN and Beau Monde chapters), and is a registered professional engineer. She enjoys independent travel, design, Pilates, yoga, cycling, sustainability, upcycling, architecture, beta editing, and blogging. Most of the time, a Vancouver Island penthouse loft condominium with a view of the Salish Sea is home. For a few months each winter, Mr. Suze and their two rescue cats accompany her to their tiny Spanish colonial casita in Centro Historico of an industrial city in Mexico.
Letter from Ramsgate is Lauder’s second published novel and comes on the heels of her successful upcycled costuming blog series, the Thrift Shop Regency Costume Experiment. Her latest venture is blogging about her learning experiences while editing Letter from Ramsgate. Suzan’s first novel, Alias Thomas Bennet, is an Austen-inspired Regency romance with a mystery twist. She also contributed a short modern romance, Delivery Boy, to the holiday anthology Then Comes Winter. All Lauder’s published fiction is based on Pride and Prejudice and is available from Meryton Press.


Contact Info: 



Buy Links:



Blog Tour Schedule:

10/17   Guest Post, Excerpt, GA; My Jane Austen Book Club
10/18   Excerpt, GA; Margie’s Must Reads
10/19   Vignette, GA;  Just Jane 1813
10/20   Review; From Pemberley to Milton
10/21   Vignette, GA; Babblings of a Bookworm
10/22   Excerpt, GA; Liz’s Reading Life
10/23   Guest Post or Vignette, GA; From Pemberley to Milton
10/24   Review; Tomorrow is Another Day
10/25   Guest Post, Excerpt, GA;  So little time…
10/26   Vignette, GA; Austenesque Reviews
10/27   Review, Excerpt; Half Agony, Half Hope
10/28   Review; Diary of an Eccentric
10/30   Guest Post or Vignette, GA; More Agreeably Engaged



Terms and Conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post that has a giveaway attached for the tour. (Review posts are not part of the giveaways). Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented (which will be verified). If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified. 

Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries. 

A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) copy of Letter from Ramsgate by Suzan Lauder. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and paperback or ebook format will randomly be selected for each winner as well. 

**NOTE: Paperback copies are ONLY available for continental US winners! Ebook copies are available for ALL winners, including international winners! If more international winners are randomly chosen than the 4 allotted ebooks, then that will decrease the number of paperbacks. 8 books will be given away to 8 different winners.**

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Once again, thank you Suzan Lauder, for giving us the insight to your naming process and for all the wonderful posts, vignettes and excerpts during the blog tour. It has been an amazing tour and I applaud you. I wish you much success with the book and from all I've read, I'm sure you will have it. I was happy to see it had already gained #1 Best Seller in Classical Romance, a place of honor on the Amazon lists. Congratulations! I was thrilled for you. I look forward to having you visit when you roll out another book. 

Readers, don't forget you have until November 3rd to leave a comment and tweet each day for extra entries! Good luck to all and thank you for following the blog tour and Suzan's latest book.


  1. Hi Suzan and Janet. I always find it a little sad when the final post of a blog tour I've been following comes around. I've loved reading all of the vignettes and tidbits of information you've shared with us Suzan. They've been absolutely fascinating and if the finished book is better than the pieces that ended up on the cutting room floor, then we're in for a treat indeed.

    I was wondering if you had any Scottish blood in you, Suzan. A surname like Lauder is certainly indicative of that, but wasn't sure if it was a pen name or not. Names and their origins are an interesting subject aren't they?

    1. I'm sad for it to end, too. It turns out that it can be a fun way to share those tidibts that were cut out. Authors without them are less lucky at the blog tour!

      I'm fourth-generation Canadian, so my ancestors are a mish-mash, predominantly Scottish and Welsh, with the two American great-grandmothers whose families were English. In Kilmarnock, Lauder's Emporium was a well-known name, owned by my great-great-great grandfather, whose father was a draper and whose sons became like Bingley--landed. I can claim some Thomsons from the Isle of Hoy, and I have a Canadian first cousin who lives in Scotland because she married a Scottish Bennett!

      Thanks for hanging around for the duration and helping make this blog tour so much fun! Best of luck, and see you around JAFF!

  2. Great post. And congratulations on the new book & tour success. (Btw, I enjoyed the young Henry Cavill photo. That was a terrific film.)

    1. Thanks, Christina. He's really too young in the film to be Colonel Fitzwilliam's older brother, but Hollywood stretches ages in all directions, so I can too. I just like looking at him, and the picture had a similar costume to the Regency so it worked for me!

  3. What a fun post!!! Must admit to loving the origins and foundations for some of the characters' names! Delightful!

    1. Other authors have other ways for this, and I think it's enjoyable too. Thanks, Mary!

  4. Been following this book tour and have enjoyed every bit of it. Thanks for sharing your book with us and thanks for the giveaway.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Priscilla. I had just as much fun doing this as the readers did reading it.

  5. I am impressed with the amount of thought and research you put into coming up with character names. I would have thought just thinking of plots would be hard enough. Thanks for this post and the giveaway.

    1. The research winds up being like trying to find a needle in a haystack. You want an original name, yet none comes to mind, so you dig in the direction that seems to make sense, but it can be hard sometimes! I enjoyed meeting you through this blog tour, Glynis!

  6. Ha! That was fun getting the story behind the names. Love those little nuggest from behind the scenes.

    1. I'm not too surprised, Sophia. You embrace all kinds of fun details and could appreciate such a thing as why a character had a certain name. Thanks!

  7. Great post! I love learning little tidbits like these.

  8. I don't know what happened to my first comment. :( Anyway, I love the picture of Isabel and Henry Fitzwilliam. She looks like a complex character. The pictures add so much to my enjoyment of the story. :) Thanks Suzan.

    1. That's one thing I like about posting over at AHA. I can add photos if I like, though these were not over there. Authors are starting to do Pinterest for their books so you can see the characters. I have a Pinterest page with some potential photos for all the characters, so more choices for Isabel.

  9. Love the post & picture of young Henry Cavill! Congrats again on your new release. I'm looking forward to reading it!

    1. He is really nice to look at, isn't he? Thanks so much, Dung. I hope you read the novel soon.