And hallo for the last time, as we’ve come to the end of our Guest Blogs. Huge Thank You Purrs to the lovely Amazon folk for letting us join you here for the last month. We always love talking to you!
One of the most frequently asked questions is: How do you come up with the warrior names? At the beginning of Warriors, we never imagined how much fans would love (and, sometimes, object to!) the two-part names that we created for our characters. Fireheart, Graystripe, Sandstorm, Yellowfang, Crookedstar, Russetfur, Pouncetail all contain a hint of the cat's appearance, or character, or habits. As the Clans have grown, and more cats have been born, we've had to come up with literally hundreds of new names, but we always try to stick to a couple of basic rules.
Firstly, both parts of the name can only come from things that occur in the cats' world. Colors, plants, other animals, textures, and the weather are all good sources, as long as we can imagine a cat having experience of the object, and therefore having a name for it. That's why we don't use precious stones like Jade or Diamond (although Amber, Gold, and Silver are acceptable because they are distinct colors). It's surprising how easy it is to slip up and include a name for something that wouldn't ever be encountered by the Clans. For example, did you know that Tigerclaw was called Hammerclaw in Book One: Into the Wild right up until just before the book was published? Someone outside the writing and editorial team glanced at the script and said, How would a cat know what a hammer is? Doh!
The two parts of the name should reflect something about the warrior, either their appearance or a particularly characteristic which the Clan leader wishes to acknowledge in the final naming ceremony. For example, Sandstorm's name comes from the color of her pelt (dusty orange) and her flashes of temper. Sometimes, cats take part of their name from a cat that has been important to them (just like a Twoleg baby being named after a grandparent). Crowfeather specifically requested the second part of his name in memory of Feathertail, whom he had loved.
We compile long lists of suitable name parts, and then match them up in different combinations to find complete names that aren't too long (a name with more than three syllables is cumbersome both to type and for cats to say!), and have a pleasant ring. There's no magic formula: quite often, it's a case of trying out dozens of combinations before you find one that makes you say, Aha! That's perfect! We also get lots of help from our wonderful fans (yup – you again) who provide us with more name suggestions than we could ever dream up on our own. So thank you!
This is a particularly exciting week for us because Warriors Power of Three Book Five: Long Shadows [Ed: Phew – could these titles get any longer?] is launched! All new books are exciting, of course, but this has been one of the most eagerly anticipated titles in Warriors history. Because at long last, all those rumors about Squirrelflight and her three children are going to be laid to rest. Yes, the truth is out! The question is, are you ready for it? Some secrets have been buried in the Clan for so long, there will be uproar and upset when they finally emerge. More than one cat is going to be left wishing they had stayed buried...
Special congratulatory purrs to everyone who spotted the clues that we started weaving in as far back as The New Prophecy Book Five: Twilight--and well done for hanging on for six books to find out! As always, we're eager to hear what you think of the new story. And we hope the wait was worth it. :)
Is it too early to talk about Christmas lists? The holidays aren't that far away, you know! If you haven't started your wishlist yet, may I suggest some rather lovely reading matter? :) As well as Long Shadows (surely you can't wait until Christmas for that?!), Escape from the Forest, the second in Tigerstar and Sasha's gripping manga trilogy, comes out at the end of December, along with the paperback for Power of Three Book Two: Dark River. The paperback for Book Three: Outcast follows in March to add to your collection.
You'll be able to celebrate the arrival of 2009 with a brand new book about our wonderful bears: Seekers Book Two: Great Bear Lake launches on February 10th. The paperback edition of Book One: The Quest Begins comes out at the same time, so you’ll be able to catch up with all the action if you missed the hardback. Happy New Year from us!
Meanwhile, we're busy with the fourth Warriors series, which launches in Fall 2009. Unlike previous new series, we won't be leaping forward an entire generation this time. There'll be some familiar faces to welcome you in Book One, plus some brand new characters with challenges and passions of their own. Eighteen books into the series, we haven't run out of ideas yet. There must be at least a dozen new ways to kill a brave warrior, or a wise elder, or an adorable kit... :) And there are still some questions from Power of Three that need answering, particularly about the origins of StarClan, and what happened to the ancient Clan of cats after they left the lake. A moonlit path of adventures, doomed romance, battles, torn loyalties, and rivalry lies ahead of us.
Come, walk with us, and may StarClan light our way!
Until next time, all best wishes
Vicky, Kate, Cherith and Tui x