Guest Author: Valerie Bowman & Giveaway!

As you know, I love hosting debut authors on my blog.  I’m particularly excited about today’s guest–she’s historical romance author Valerie Bowman.  Valerie’s first book, Secrets of a Wedding Night, was just released from St. Martin’s Press and it’s been getting great buzz and great reviews.

Let’s turn the blog over to Valerie to hear all about her new book.

The Name that Got Away

Let’s talk about names. My name. Your name. Heroes’ and heroines’ names. What would your name have been if you had been the opposite sex? Or, in my case, if I had been named the name my mother had actually picked out for me, but more about that in a minute.

In my debut romance novel, SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT, the heroine is named Lily Andrews and the hero is named Devon Morgan. I named the heroine after Lily Lawson, one of my favorite heroines in one of my favorite novels of all time, Lisa Kleypas’, THEN CAME YOU. Lisa’s story is actually set a bit later than SECRETS and someone once pointed out to me that as a general rule, women in England were not named after flowers until the Victorian era. So technically, Lily’s name might be a bit anachronistic. But I choose to believe it’s entirely possible that her parents were ahead of their time. Plus, I was more interested in the homage to one of my favorite characters, than in the factuality of the thing to be honest. Hence, my Lily.

Morgan, Devon’s last name, is a nod to the famous Rand Morgan of Laura London’s incomparable, THE WINDFLOWER. Morgan also a family name for me. Devon’s first name just sounded good and popped into my head when I was trying to think of Lily’s hero. Sometimes I just get lucky that way and the name just appears in front of my mind’s eye.

Now, about my own name. Unfortunately, I was born about two months premature and my mother, not expecting to be in labor, had left the list of baby names she’d decided upon back at the house. I had jaundice and was breach and had severe complications. My mother was rushed into an emergency C-section and my father was told that they were hoping to save my mother, not me. Eek.

Ok, so flash forward and I was born and weighed like 4 pounds and was very sick. My mother was still out of it from the anesthesia and the doctors told my father. “You’d better name your daughter quickly or she’ll be named Jane Doe on the death certificate.”

Can you imagine?

So, as the story goes in my family, my dad rushed home to get the right name from the list. My mom had circled the one they’d finally agreed upon. He couldn’t remember! He came back to the hospital and scanned the list and realized none of the names were circled. So he picked the one he happened to like best, the one that had his sister’s name as in the middle: Valerie Gale.

When my mother came to, she realized that my father had picked the wrong name. For the name she had circled on another piece of paper at home. The one they’d decided on was… Mary Grace.

Now, I adore both the names Mary and Grace, but I’ve never quite imagined myself with that name. It just doesn’t seem like me. Perhaps a bit of serendipity was at work that day in June at the hospital in Illinois. Especially given the fact that I made a full recovery.

So, confess, what is the alternate name your parents were planning to name you? One lucky commenter will win a copy of Secrets of a Wedding Night.


Young, widowed, and penniless, Lily Andrews, the Countess of Merrill, has strong opinions on marriage. When she spots a certain engagement announcement in The Times, she decides to take action. She will not allow another hapless girl to fall prey to a man—particularly the scoundrel who broke her heart five years ago. Anonymously she writes and distributes a pamphlet entitled “Secrets of a Wedding Night,” knowing it will find its way into his intended’s innocent hands…


Devon Morgan, the Marquis of Colton, desires a good wife and mother to his son—someone completely unlike Lily Andrews, the heartless beauty who led him on a merry chase five years ago only to reject him. When Devon’s new fiancée cries off after reading a certain scandalous pamphlet, he vows to track down the author and make her pay. But when he learns it’s his former fiancée Lily, he issues a challenge: write a retraction—or prepare to be seduced—to find out how wonderful a wedding night can be…

 Secrets of a Wedding Night is the most charming and clever debut I’ve read in years!” ~ NTY bestselling author Lisa Kleypas

Vanessa, here.  Wow, Valerie, that’s an amazing and scary story!  We are all VERY glad that things turned out okay.  Now, how about you, readers?  Did your parents have more than one name picked out for you?  If not, is there a name you wish they’d given you?  One person who comments will win a copy of Valerie’s wonderful new book!

And be sure to visit Valerie’s website to read an excerpt from Secrets of a Wedding Night and for all the buy links.


58 thoughts on “Guest Author: Valerie Bowman & Giveaway!”

  1. my name was picked by my mother’s sister. i only wished she didn’t one that’s so difficult to write. people always write my name incorrectly, so i need to spell it repeatedly 🙁

  2. While my mom was pregnant with me, my granmother died. When my grandfather asked if he could name the baby if it was a girl my mom said yes. thinking he would name me after her mom, Martha. When my grandfather told her he decided on naming me after his sister, who died of smallpox in the 20’s, she had a fit because she couldn’t name a baby Orrie Clyde. She finally was able to agree with a derivative of name, Ora and then decide she liked Elaine for the middle. When I was little she always called me Lainie because she never really cared for my first name. She told me it wasn’t until I inisited upon being called Ora that she started calling me by my first name at least most of the time. I remember growing up liking the fact that no one had the same name of me.

  3. Well, my mom told me that I was named after a character in a book she had read… but she couldn’t remember the title to the book.. I was fairly young when I asked the I always wondered if she just didn’t wish to share the title or if she truely couldn’t remember.. My 2 older sisters were named for family members and friends… me –a book she couldn’t remember,,

  4. My parents almost named me Shelley instead of Kelly. I’m very happy with Kelly, spelled with a y! Thankfully I was older before people started adding i’s at the end of names…just my opinion. Lol

  5. According to my parents, I was going to be Nancy. Only they made the mistake of running that choice past my older brothers and sister, all of whom replied in chorus, “Nancy? EW!” So they bowed to that opinion and changed to something else, only they didn’t tell my siblings. That’s the name I was stuck with. No, it’s not Ashlyn, and it’s not the other name you know (which is my middle name). It’s a name that became a bit more popular in the 70s, but I always hated it because NO ONE else had that name, and I desperately wanted to be like everyone else then. So when I could, I dropped Meredith in favor of my middle name, and now I use a penname anyway.

  6. My parents eloped, so my father felt there was a lot of fence-mending to be done with the parents and in-laws! So he chose Saralee for me, for his mother Sarah and his new father-in-law Leo. I guess they were both pleased, but my mother was not. She nick-named me Taffy, and that’s the name I wore until the senior partner in the stuffy law firm I worked at called me “Fluffy.” Then I decided Saralee had more gravitas. LOL

  7. When my mother was little she decided that if she had a baby girl her name would be Sheila…I guess there was no discussion in the house, the decision had ben made years earlier.

  8. He he he @ Cheryl. I have an uncle born on St Patrick’s Day – he was given Patrick as his middle name!

    I was always going to be Sonya, but my parents picked Larisa if they ever had a second daughter; they didn’t – just a son.

    (I’m Ukrainian – not that you can tell from my Irish surname!)

    I think my father still wishes he had a daughter named Larisa. I’m pretty sure it’s his favourite name.

  9. Hi

    My dad named me Pamela because he like the sound of it, my mom had picked out Nancy, however I am not sure why my dad’s choice was the winner.

    Thanks for the chance

  10. Hi,
    Great blog today thanks, I’m looking forward to reading her new book I love stories like this.
    On names I was name Penney because my Dad had a old pickle jar filled with pennies. He said if we have a girl I want her name Penney spelled with the ey at the end. If a boy name him after my dad. Well sadly my Dad was killed in a car wreck Mom was 5 month along with me so when she had me she kept his promise and named me Penney. Back when I was a kid I wished I had a different name as the kids always called me carrot top and a bunch other names as I have red hair just like my dad did. Now I’m in my 50 and I do like my name! It is kind of funny to be names after a jar pf Pennies!

  11. My mom had my name picked out, June Ann, but she had toyed with the idea of spelling it Junanne. I never went to school with another June (until high school and had a teacher with the name). And I had a lot of jokes made, Hi June, where’s July, etc. The really strange thing is I have two cousins, one on my mom’s side, one on dad’s side named April (one is actually April May).

  12. I was born and raised in Italy. I was named after my grandmother Girolama. It is such an oldfashioned and complicated name that even my countrymen have a hard time with it. Here in the US people like the sound of it, my husband loves it. I am only glad my parents chose a good nickname for me. Since I was born I go by Mina, simple and familiar to several nationalities.

  13. My mom wanted to name me Amanda but my father was dead set on Danielle. I have no clue why though. I know she told me she did it to make him happy. I only knew one other Danielle when I was growing up and it always annoyed me to a lot of people could not pronounce my name correctly. I don’t know why, Danielle doesn’t seem very hard to pronounce to me.

  14. Everyone thought my mother was going to have a boy, so she was ready to name me Anthony. Then, when she had a girl, she considered Tammy Lynn. I’m glad she went with Kelli. I used to hate my name, especially the spelling which was more unusual when I was young, but now I’m cool with it. I think the name suits me.

  15. My parents expected me to be a boy and I was supposed to be named after my father Johnny joe but since I was a girl they argued over my grandmother’s name whom I never got to meet since she passed when my dad was 12,I was going to be Frances Jennifer but ended up Jennifer Frances which I love

  16. Congrats on your debut release, Valerie. I’m pretty sure my parents came up with a few names, but I don’t know what they were.

  17. Double eek,Valerie! I didn’t know you were a preemie. Such a scary thing. So glad things turned out well. I can’t imagine you as anything but Valerie, so I’m glad THAT turned out that way too. When my mom was pregnant with me, she had to have an emergency appendectomy. The doctors cut her open and lifted me out, still in the womb and placed me on her belly so they could take care of my mom’s appendix. How’s that for strange? Luckily everything went well and they saved my mom and put me right back inside. I’m sure surgery is much more advanced today and they wouldn’t have to do something that drastic, but I still think it’s kind of cool. As for my name, my dad was in the Navy and had traveled in Europe a lot. The name ‘Lena’ is much more common there and dad thought it sounded pretty, so that’s what they named me.

  18. My dad was insistent that if they had a son, his name would be Gust. Thankfully, we were all girls. However, if any of us have sons, he is expecting the same thing…

  19. Welcome Valerie! Thank God you gt better because we wouldn’t have gotten such a great writer to fill our heads and hearts with sexy heroes and brave heroins.
    As for my name my parents swore that the doctor told them I was a BOY, and so my father called one of our grandfathers to find me a name. Therefore giving me a boy’s name, Ki (pronounced Key); although it means “charm” (as in, a charm on a bracelet) in our language. They didn’t change my name nor knew of a girl’s name appropriate for me to change to since they found out I was a GIRL the next morning at home. I know right? One whole day without changing my diaper I suppose. But yup, they just ended up changing the tonal tone of speaking my name but my mother calls me Kiki from time to time too. I guess it’s to make it up to me for giving me a boy’s name. I do love my name though, it’s unique.

  20. I was names after my 2 aunts Anna and Minnie. My name is Allison Meredith. I go by Allie, but do really like the name Anna. Simple yet elegant

  21. My parents named me after a family friend’s daughter. Her name was Ellen. My dad didn’t know how to spell it so he sounded it out. That’s how I ended up with Alyn. Judging by the names my brothers got, I am glad I was not born a boy.

  22. I was supposed to be called Betty since my older sibling’s name starts with an “A”… Kind of like the Bridgeton’s names in alphabetical order. When I was born, my mom changed her mind and named me after her best friend instead.

  23. 7th of us name after my father and mother first letter.
    The boys named begin with letter M,my mother name is mariana.
    The girls named begin with letter R, my father name is rusli 🙂
    Thanks for the giveaway 🙂

  24. I was supposed to be named after my Norwegian Grandmother, Randi, but my Dad took one look at me and said nope she is Ann. I had 3 Anns in my class all through school. I made the mistake of promising my husband IF we had a boy we would name him after him. Well 9 years after the girls were born we had Gerald Clarence the third, YIKES

  25. As far as I know there was only one name picked for me – my mother named me after her doctor’s daughter, she loved the name. I did have a couple of names for my son, but I’m glad I went with my first choice and not the second one. He’s definitely an Erik not a Brian.

  26. I’m the youngest of 3 girls & we’re Asian. No prizes if you guessed that my parent & especially my paternal grandmother were hoping for a boy. That was probably the main reason for a 3rd child after 2 girls! When it was confirmed that the baby was a girl my grandma wanted to give me a Chinese name that meant Stop (or enough); my aunt who was within earshot retorted with another name which thankfully ended up on my birth cert instead. My name roughly translates as “beautiful bell” instead – i must hv been crying really loud n melodiously at brith!

  27. I’m daughter #5, with another sister & a brother after me. By this time my parents were just grabbing names out of the newspaper. They almost went with Dorothea. I would have been Dotty for the rest of my life. Heaven forbid.

    • Mary is one of my very favorite names. I always put a Mary in my stories. And we joke that my name starts with a V because by the time they got to me (#7) they were at the end of the baby name book. 🙂

  28. My mom had me a few weeks early and I was told that she had to have an emergency c-section because I was breach. I don’t know that they had settled on a name, but I ended up Sheryl with an S instead of C to be different. I was named for Cheryl Tiggs who was a famous model at the time.

  29. Well, I was named after my father’s mother and my parents never thought of giving me another name. And I’m glad. I really like my name. It’s short and easy 🙂

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