We’re so pleased to have author Kelly Jensen joining us today on the tour to celebrate her latest release, Renewing Forever, book two in the This Time Forever collection. Kelly’s doing a bit of a character introduction and discussing their names, and she’s also offering up a giveaway, so be sure to check out all the details for that at the end.
Benjamin and Franklin
Frank and Tom met when they were nine years old. They were the very best of friends for ten years. They did everything together, and in the way of children, couldn’t imagine a time when they wouldn’t do everything together. After college, they wanted to travel the world as a team, with Frank writing the stories and Tom taking the pictures. Their partnership would carry the moniker “Benjamin & Franklin.”
Tom came up with the name during their third summer together, and it was duly added to the notebook carrying a list of all the places they planned to visit.
Knowing the name of their partnership before I actually started creating Tom’s character, I was tempted to call him Benjamin. I’d already changed Frank from Francis to Franklin to suit. But that seemed a little too coincidental, even for me, so I gave Tom the last name of Benjamin and searched for a while for something that sounded good with it. I kept coming back to Tom, eventually it stuck, and now I can’t imagine him with any other name.
Keep reading for insight into the names of all the characters in Renewing Forever. All definitions/origins come from BehindtheName.com which is an amazing resource and just plain fun to visit!
Frank named himself, meaning his name literally popped into my head right at the moment I needed it—when he first speaks in the second chapter of Building Forever. After I decided Frank was short for Franklin rather than Francis, I also decided that his parents had likely chosen the name because a) they liked it and b) it seemed a very Pennsylvanian thing to do!
The name Franklin means “freeman” which isn’t an exact fit for Frank. He is very free in his thinking and he’s always been out and proud. Frank is one of the few characters I’ve written who is entirely comfortable with his sexuality, and nearly always has been. Yet his thinking when it comes to his heart isn’t free at all—it’s exactly the opposite of that. His heart has been locked away for nearly thirty years.
As I mentioned above, although I did look at other names for Tom, his short and sweet appellation stuck pretty early on. In fact, this is one of the few books where I didn’t change anyone’s name halfway through, or during edits. (Yay!)
Interestingly enough, Tom (Thomas) in the Greek form of the Aramaic name Ta’oma’ means twin. Tom never finds out who his father is, not in the book, or in any backstory I wrote for him. On the one hand, it wasn’t important that he found out, but on the other, him not knowing was super important. It’s a huge facet of his character, and his motivation.
What he doesn’t know, sadly—and I may have to rectify this in an epilogue story at some point—is that Wendy named him for his father, and that he looks very, very much like him.
Robert is the man who just about set it all in motion—Frank’s uncle and Tom’s stand-in father. With his wife, Robert owned and operated the Bossen Hill Family Resort. Because he never had any children of his own, he always planned to leave the resort to Frank, and I suspect Robert understood, way before Frank and Tom did, that he’d be leaving it to both of them.
In fact, one might almost suspect he left his will exactly as it was—even after Frank’s long absence—as a way to bring the boyhood friends back together.
I chose Robert’s name the same way I chose most of the names for Frank’s family: I wanted simple, every day names that felt related.
Bossen Hill Family Resort
Bossen Hill Family Resort was built in 1932 and reportedly modeled after Groeneveld Castle in the Netherlands. No, the large home on the cover of the book doesn’t look like much of a match, but stock photos are sometimes limited, and I felt it captured the feel of the family resort well enough. I also thought it was a gorgeous building in its own right.
Robert and his brother Willian (Frank’s dad) inherited the family resort from their father, who had built it for his wife. I loosely based the interior and exterior on nearby Skytop Lodge, which is one of my favorite places to visit.
Bossen is Dutch for “forests,” by the way, chosen for the trees and woodland that surround the grounds.
Bojangles and Delany
Tom’s cars have names. His first, a 1970 Mercury Cougar was named for legendary tap dancer, Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson. His current vehicle, a non-descript little Toyota, is named for science fiction writer Samuel R. Delany.
Frank calls his beloved BMW Z3 “Baby.”
Tom’s mom. I named Wendy for one of my favorite aunts, which might seem like a weird thing to do, given Wendy’s dysfunctionality. But I couldn’t name her for the person I actually based her character on because… Well, because. So I named her for a person I admire, in order to honor Wendy’s tenacity when it came to her son. Tom was her every reason for being, even when she couldn’t keep herself together.
Tom’s ex-girlfriend Sandra is very deliberately named. Trace the name back its origin and you find the Greek words for help and defend (appended to the word for man). Sandra is a nurse. In Renewing Forever, she is Wendy’s nurse, specifically (Wendy resides in an assisted living facility). Sandra is a good nurse, but what sets her apart is the way she cares about her patients, and for the people related to them. Even after she and Tom break up, she remains his good friend and ally.
The creepy kid at every school—the one no one wants to sit next to on the bus, the one who grows up to choose a profession no one expected, and then shows up in your life, thirty years later, like a weird and not entirely pleasant odor that lingers long after you’ve forgotten where it came from. That’s Neil. I didn’t think long and hard about his first name. I just picked the first thing that popped into my head. His last name is taken from Australian slang. Crook means sick or unwell, and can be applied to anything that’s a bit off.
Frank’s best friend. Much like Simon, the choice for his name was very straightforward. I named him for a childhood friend he very much resembles—a boy with dark hair and brilliant blue eyes. Like my friend, Simon Lynley is quiet, not so much shy as reserved, and supremely talented at what he does. Lynley is a name plucked out of thin air.
Simon’s ex. I’ll talk more about Brian in the upcoming tour for his book, Chasing Forever. For now, you can learn a little about his name by visiting this link, which leads to a post I wrote for Building Forever, the book where Brian is introduced.)
Simon’s partner and one of the main characters in Building Forever, the first of my series, This Time Forever. To learn more about the origin of Charlie’s name, visit the link I gave for Brian!
I hope you enjoy meeting Frank, Tom, and the rest of the characters in Renewing Forever as much as I enjoyed spending time with them as I wrote the book!
About the Book
A neglected resort, a lost chance at love, and one last chance to renew forever.
Frankie and Tommy once dreamed of traveling the world together. But when seventeen-year-old Frank kissed Tom, their plans ended with a punch to the jaw and Frank leaving town without looking back. Thirty years later, Frank’s successful career as a journalist is interrupted by his uncle’s death and the question of his inheritance—the family resort where his childhood dreams were built. When he returns to the Pocono Mountains, however, he finds a dilapidated lodge and Tommy, the boy he never forgot.
Tom’s been keeping the resort together with spit and glue while caring for Frank’s uncle, Robert—a man he considered father, mentor, and friend—and his aged mother, who he refuses to leave behind. Now Robert is gone, taking Tom’s job with him. And Frank is on the doorstep, wanting to know why Tom is still there and why the old lodge is falling apart.
But before they can rebuild the resort, they’ll have to rebuild their friendship. Only then can they renew the forever they planned all those years ago.
About the Series
Small towns and second chances.
Simon, Frank, and Brian think love has passed them by. Each is facing down his fiftieth birthday—Simon in a few years, Frank next year, and Brian soon enough. Each has loved and lost. But for these men, everything old really is new again, and it’s only when they return to their roots that they’ll find their second chances and the happily ever after they’ve been waiting their whole lives for.
This time it’s forever.
This series includes:
- Building Forever — releasing October 15, available now!
- Renewing Forever — releasing November 12, available for preorder!
- Chasing Forever — releasing December 10, available soon!
About the Author
If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories about the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.
Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas, and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, cowritten with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.
To celebrate the release of Renewing Forever one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card and a swag pack of stickers, art cards, and bookmarks! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 17, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!