Cornelia Grey on The Empty Hourglass ~ Guest Blog, Local Giveaway

Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Cornelia Grey for stopping by today.


Title: The Empty Hourglass
Author: Cornelia Grey
Publisher: Riptide
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
Genre: Alternate Universe/Alternate World, Gay Fiction, Gay Romance, Historical


Thomas Escott has always wanted to be a toymaker, yet just as he achieves his dream, an accident claims his right hand. He’s certain his life is over—until he hears about groundbreaking prosthetics being made by a reclusive inventor.

Jethro Hastings is perfectly content to live alone up in the mountains working on a secret masterpiece: a humanoid automaton that will change the scientific community forever. He’s behind schedule, and the date of the unveiling is fast approaching, so when Thomas shows up on his doorstep offering help in exchange for a mechanical hand, Jethro agrees. Time, after all, is running out on another deal he’s made: one with the devil.

The devil gives Jethro’s inventions life, but he can just as quickly take life away—Jethro’s, to be exact. As the sand in the devil’s hourglass falls, marking the time until the end of the deal, inventions go haywire, people get hurt, and Thomas realizes he needs Jethro just as much as his prosthetic. Now he must find a way to save Jethro’s soul, but negotiating with a devil is just as difficult as it sounds.

The Empty Hourglass: Naming Characters

Hello! I’m Cornelia Grey—welcome to the Empty Hourglass blog tour! At various tour stops, I’ll be sharing some secrets about my writing process, sources of inspiration and future projects!

Comment on each stop to be entered in a drawing for a $15 Riptide Publishing gift card and the two previous titles in the Deal with a Devil series—Devil at the Crossroads and The Circus of the Damned—in an e-book format of your choice. Thank you for joining me on the tour!

Naming Characters

I find naming my characters one of most interesting, albeit sometime challenging, parts of writing.

It’s different for every author, but in my case, I usually get a ‘feel’ of the character before I even know their name. Something about their personality, their attitudes, their past… maybe an inkling of what they look like. At that point, I usually spend some time browsing through pictures until I find some inspiration as to what they look like. I might already be sketching some scenes, and the characters are temporarily marked with initials… it might sound silly, but I get this feeling that a certain character should have a name starting with a specific letter, or featuring a specific vowel rather than another.

That’s when I break out my notebooks! Over the years, I have jotted down several lists of names, although to be perfectly honest I tend to occasionally lose one or the other ;). So I read through the lists of names and surnames and, if all goes well, one of them will just spring out as precisely the right one for the character.

However, for some of the characters of The Empty Hourglass, I took a slightly different approach. I have been living somewhat as a digital nomad for the past couple of years, and I’ve had the good luck of meeting many lovely people, who became dear friends. And somewhere along the way, I was just struck by some of their names—and they ended up in the book!

Dragana, the blind inventress building mechanical spiders, is named after a dear friend of mine from Serbia, whom I met in Tokyo. She’s incredibly smart, with an impressive analytical mind and a sharp tongue, and her intelligence and demeanor were always in my mind whenever I was writing scenes featuring her namesake. I will always remember the day we went for a walk and, due to our utter inability to read maps correctly got lost for hours among the temples somewhere south of Shinjuku… not to mention the wonderful Halloween we spent walking around Shibuya, among the biggest crowd I have ever seen of people in all sorts of wonderful costumes.

As for Jethro, the inventor who recklessly made a deal with the devil in order to bring his inventions to life—his name comes from a friend I met in a little village in Wales. One day, we went down on a little rocky beach near the harbor, eating delicious panini with artisanal cheese and ham. Perched on the rocks on a lovely sunny day, looking at an old fort and the cannons still guarding the harbor, he listened to me ramble about The Empty Hourglass’s plot with endless patience and, at some point, I was struck by a sudden epiphany: wouldn’t his name be simply perfect for the protagonist? Luckily, Jethro was more than happy to lend it to me for a bit!

One of the side characters, a villager named Jens, is named after my employer in Germany—a man whose interest in antiques led to many a fascinating conversation. He found it rather amusing that the character named after him isn’t exactly the nicest of guys… not to worry, I haven’t yet taken to naming my villains after people I begrudge—although I could always keep it in mind for the future ;)!

What about you, dear readers—if you have a writer friend, would you like to have your name featured in a story?


The Empty Hourglass on Goodreads
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble


To celebrate the release of The Empty Hourglass, Cornelia is giving away the two previous titles in the Deal with a Devil series—Devil at the Crossroads and The Circus of the Damned—in an e-book format of your choice, plus $15 in Riptide credit. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 16, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

About the Author

Cornelia Grey is a creative writing student fresh out of university, with a penchant for fine arts and the blues. Born and raised in the hills of Northern Italy, where she collected her share of poetry and narrative prizes, Cornelia moved to London to pursue her studies.


After graduating with top grades, she is now busy with internships: literary agencies, publishing houses, and creative departments handling book series, among others. She also works as a freelance translator.


She likes cats, knitting, performing in theatre, going to museums, collecting mugs, and hanging out with her grandma. When writing, she favors curious, surreal stories, steampunk, and mixed-genre fiction. Her heroes are always underdogs, and she loves them for it.


Connect with Cornelia:


    • Website: ccom







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21 thoughts on “Cornelia Grey on The Empty Hourglass ~ Guest Blog, Local Giveaway

  1. Thank you for the post! Honestly, I’ve never given much thought at how characters get their names, of course they must come from somewhere… Your post has given me plenty to think about


  2. I really enjoy it when authors share their thought processes & methods. It might be kinda cool to know a favorite author named a character after me. Thanks for the post & giveaway. legacylandlisa(at)

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