Behind the Scenes with the Mermen of River Road:

Read on, of course, for the weekly winners. And a quick preview: I just finished the new Kim Harrison Hollows book, Ever After, and will have a review on Thursday with a giveaway (and you can also win it in this week’s Reader’s Choice Contest tomorrow). And Linda Robertson will be here this week with a special guest post to celebrate the upcoming release of Shattered Circle, her new Persephone Alcmedi novel. On Wednesday, I’ll be asking for some input into a new writing project I have coming up. A fun week coming up!

Today, I’m still looking at the long, multi-chapter scene where DJ, Alex, and Jean Lafitte head down into Plaquemines Parish to meet the mermen Rene and Robert Delachaise and their rival mer Denis Villere.

So, how did I pick names for my mermen? Obviously, I wanted names that are commonly found in Southeast Louisiana. I love the name Rene (when it’s a guy’s name, in Louisiana, it’s pronounced REN-ee), and I have a friend in New Orleans whose husband has that name–he was the first Rene I ever met. At the time I wrote River Road, I had never read any of Charlaine Harris’s Sookie novels, nor watched any “True Blood,” so I didn’t know until well later that there was an important character named Rene in the first Sookie book.

(As an aside, I always thought it odd that the name of Sookie’s town was Bon Temps and there were characters with names like Rene because the part of Louisiana that the series is set in–North Louisiana, near Shreveport, is NOT French in the least. It’s pretty much like Alabama and Mississippi. Just plain old Southern.)

Anyway, I wanted Rene to have a twin, and chose Robert (row-BEAR) for no reason in particular, honestly. I chose Delachaise (della-shay) as their last name because it was a street near my house, I liked the word, and that whole part of uptown New Orleans was once part of the Delachaise Plantation.

Denis is another French name that should be pronounced don-EE, but in Louisiana it tends to be pronounced just like “Dennis.” There used to be a local chain of supermarkets called Villere’s, and Villere (VIL-er-ee) is a pretty common name in SO-LA.

Here’s the guy I cast in my head as Rene/Robert, only with shorter hair and a ton of tats. I have his name around somewhere but don’t remember it offhand.

I hadn’t cast Denis when I wrote the book, but after I saw a guy on the TV show “Swamp People,” I knew he was the perfect guy for Denis, except that he seems like a really cool guy (Denis, not quite so much). He has that great braid, though.

The other thing in this section I had fun researching was where for DJ and the gang to meet the
mermen. I found a place with the unlikely name of the Black Velvet, looked at their menu, and knew that was the spot.

When I was in New Orleans for the Royal Street launch, my friends and I drove down to  Buras, Louisiana, in Plaquemines Parish north of Venice, and had a great lunch at the Black Velvet. I had oysters, because, well, I always have oysters. But there were, indeed, meat pies and frog legs on the table. Ever in Plaquemines? Check it out!

Now for this week’s winners. If your name is listed, please email me: suzannej3523 at gmail with your choice of ebook/format or print and the appropriate address. Books unclaimed after 30 days go into the Book Horde list.

RAIHANA won the Reader’s Choice contest, and chose Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans.

BARBARA E won the weekly review book giveaway: your choice of Laura Bickle’s The Hallowed Ones, Felix Gilman’s The Rise of Ransom City (or his first book, The Half-made World), or Sasha Summers’ For the Love of Hades (digital only available on this one). 

ENIGMA 75 won a choice of book from the Book Horde (tab at the top of page) for commenting on Wednesday’s Shop Talk discussion.
Finally, if you’re interested in receiving a book in exchange for a review, please check the list of what’s available at the tab above and let me know. My apologies, but because of postage costs, I can only offer to send review books to reviewers in US/Canada.

That’s it for this week. I’ll be back tomorrow with some new releases and a Reader’s Choice Contest!

5 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes with the Mermen of River Road:

  1. Thanks for the Behind the Scenes. Always enjoy these posts, especially the correct way to pronounce the names. Surprising how I have mispronounced some when I read.

  2. I am loving these tidbits about the series. I always thought it was sort of odd the way “Bon Temps” is portrayed as well, being that it’s North La. I lived in that area, and there weren’t many people w/French origin first names, but there were a lot w/French origin last names. Northwest La actually has a lot of Hispanic last names.

    Anyway, I’m really enjoying these posts, and I’m a little homesick. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks, guys! I haven’t spent a lot of time up around Shreveport, Andrea, but what time I’ve been there (including Katrina evacuation), it really felt more traditionally Southern than Southeast and South-Central Louisiana. Which I think is why “Bon Temps” is so generic in some ways. It never said “Louisiana” to me.

  4. I loved the post and the insight into the French names since I love to be able to pronounce names correctly when I’m reading. 😀
    Also thanks so much for choosing me as a winner, that’s so awesome! Congrats to the other winners as well.