Today I am so pleased to welcome Allison Temple to Joyfully Jay. Allison has come to talk to us about her latest release, The Pick Up. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

The Pick Up Blog Tour

The Trouble With Naming Characters

Fun fact: The dedication for The Pick Up nearly said To Kyle at the office, this story isn’t about you.

Most writers will tell you that naming characters is one of the hardest parts of writing a book. If a writer has never once looked up a baby naming website . . . well . . . if they’ve never done that, I want to know their secret.

Naming characters is hard. A name can inform so much of a reader’s expectations going into a story. Hunter is big on plaid and lives in a cabin in the woods. Victor is a lawyer who never buys anything without a designer label. Tank can bench press a compact car, and eats a dozen eggs for breakfast, before leading his combat unit into battle.

It’s also tricky, because before it ever gets to a reader, the name has to fit the writer’s vision. Sometimes names come to me quickly. Sometimes they change mid-draft. Sometimes they change when you’re writing the next book and realize the perfect name you’d picked for book 1 doesn’t mix with the extended cast of book 2! True story, in The Pick Up, Rebecca’s name was originally Maureen, but it turned out to be too similar to the main character’s name in a later Red Creek story, so I had to change it.

And never mind that my own history means there is a whole list of names that will never make it into my books. My brother, my dad, my husband, uncles, grandfathers, and old boyfriends. None of my heroes will ever share names with these men, because at some point they’re going to have sex, and writing a man with my brother’s name having sex is just weird.

Then there are co-workers. I used to run the marketing department of an environmental consulting company. We had 700 staff across the country, and a lot of them were men. I wasn’t shy about talking about my writing at the office, so it could only be weird if The Pick Up’s main characters shared names with one of the men I worked with.

I finally settled on Adam and Kyle. There weren’t many of those at work, and the Adams and Kyles who did work with me were unlikely to hear about my writing habit or read my stories.

Except . . .

Kyle Fenton moves back to Red Creek with his daughter after ten years of living and working and Seattle.

That’s the most basic premise of The Pick Up.

There were no Fentons at work, and only one Kyle, and he worked in a different time zone.

Should be safe, right?

Except . . .

One of my responsibilities in my job was to help senior managers update their professional social media profiles when they joined the company. It was a pretty simple thing. I’d schedule a meeting, talk about things like corporate standards, and then ask questions about their career history and what our clients could expect from them in their new role. Very straightforward.

Except . . .

Last summer, we hired a new director. He was young. A Toronto boy who had been working in the US since he’d finished school, but was looking to move back north of the border. I scheduled a meeting. He accepted. I didn’t give it any thought at all, until that awful and awkward moment when I said “So Kyle. You just moved back here with your family after living and working in Seattle for the last ten years.”

And then my poor heretofore oblivious brain went Oh shit.

I mean what were the odds? What kind of terrible coincidence was this? I’d written my Kyle’s backstory nearly three years earlier, and now here was a guy with the same tagline.

I didn’t tell Office Kyle why I was blushing. I hope he didn’t notice me suppressing my nearly hysterical giggling throughout our 45-minute meeting. As soon as we were done, I went to my boss and said “I think I have to quit my job.”

He thought I was kidding. I was. Mostly.

I didn’t talk to Office Kyle much after that, but, just in case he sees this . . .

To Kyle at the office, this story isn’t about you.


The Pick UpKyle’s life is going backwards. He wanted to build a bigger life for himself than Red Creek could give him, but a family crisis has forced him to return to his hometown with his six-year-old daughter. Now he’s standing in the rain at his old elementary school, and his daughter’s teacher, Mr. Hathaway, is lecturing him about punctuality.

Adam Hathaway is not looking for love. He’s learned the hard way to keep his personal and professional life separate. But Kyle is struggling and needs a friend, and Adam wants to be that friend. He just needs to ignore his growing attraction to Kyle’s goofy charm, because acting on it would mean breaking all the rules that protect his heart.

down roots in this town again is not Kyle’s plan. As soon as he can, he’s taking his daughter and her princess costumes and moving on. The more time he spends with Adam, though, the more he thinks the quiet teacher might give him a reason to stay. Now he just has to convince Adam to take a chance on a bigger future than either of them could have planned.


Allison Temple is a romance writer from Toronto, Ontario. She lives with her very patient husband and the world’s neediest cat. Her debut, The Pick Up, will be published by Riptide Publishing in 2018.

Allison has been writing since the second grade, when she wrote a short story about a girl and her horse. Her grandmother typed it out for her and said she’d never seen so many quotation marks from a seven-year-old before. Allison’s fascination with the way characters speak and communicate with each other in novels has not diminished in the ensuing thirtyish years.

Despite living in Canada’s largest city for more than a decade, Allison’s fiction writing draws inspiration from her small-town roots. Originally from Brockville, Ontario, she knows what it’s like to live in a place where nothing is more than a ten-minute drive away, and you’ll see everyone you know on Saturday morning at the farmers’ market. Her first job was selling coffee and making sandwiches at a bakery that has been family owned for over a hundred years. She was once given an award for “most improved tomato slicer.”

Since that early professional start, Allison has been, at various times, an odor lab technician, environmental consultant, corporate proposal writer, and marketing manager. She fills her free time with writing, community theater stage management, and traveling to destinations with good wine.

Allison came late to reading and writing romance novels. She didn’t read her first one until she was twenty-six years old, but it has been a landslide since then. She loves LGBT romance for the stories it tells and the characters it brings to life. She is very excited to be joining the circle of passionate and talented authors in the genre, and credits Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton for introducing her to it.</span>

Connect with Allison:


To celebrate the release of The Pick Up, one lucky winner will receive a $25 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 10, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
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FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Guest Post
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