Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Guest Post: Belle Whittington - Author of Firefly and Cicada

Today, Belle has written up a post for us!  I was curious about how she came up with the names for the books!  And without further ado, I give you Belle Whittington!

I’m so happy to be stopping by this awesome blog today for a cup of tea and a great discussion.  And many thanks to all the fantastic readers and followers for joining in all the fun during the FIREFLY Book Blog Tour.

Many readers have wondered why I chose the titles of CICADA and FIREFLY for the first two books of this trilogy and why there’s a minor theme of insects threaded through the storyline.  I’ll admit that I smile at the chance to discuss this, because so many people are freaked out by bugs.  Even I have a specialized bug scream. If you ever hear it, you’ll immediately know that an insect has most likely landed on me or gotten caught in my hair (this actually happened to me once when I was mowing the lawn.  Major screaming and running ensued.  Hence the reason I no longer mow my own yard!).

So, how did book one come to be named CICADA?  Well, in all honesty, the book named itself … and perhaps the truest way to answer that question is to say that Everett named it.  Everett is a beloved character in this trilogy.  He hopes to become an entomologist someday … that’s fancy-talk for Bug Scientist.  But, let’s back up a bit.  There’s a little history between cicadas and me.  I had a very magical childhood growing up in Nacogdoches, the oldest town in Texas.  My parents were old fashioned, so we kids played outside a lot.  We lived in the lush piney woods of East Texas, and the woods were my playground.

During the summer, my siblings and I played barefoot in the creek, caught crawdads, played with frogs … all to the song of the cicadas.  That was during the late ‘70s and the ‘80s, so there was no such thing as an iPod.  The sounds of nature were our background music.  My brother, John, and I would collect cicada shells from the bark of trees and wear them while we rode bikes.  I always thought the shells were the most magical thing in the woods.  Even then, I felt they could represent something.

And so they do in CICADA.  Everett tells the other main characters a little bit about cicadas in book one.  After they hatch from their eggs, they fall to the forest floor where they burrow into the ground and remain there until they are seventeen years old.  At that time, they emerge from the ground as a different type of creature, come out of their shells, and spread their wings. 

Can you see where I’m going with this?  The main character, Blair, is seventeen years old at the beginning of CICADA.  I don’t want to give away any spoilers to those who have read book one, but I will say at the end of the book, Natalie poses the question about which one of them is the real cicada.

I’m still entranced by fireflies as they twinkle among the darkened tree canopy in the spooky little patch of woods behind my house.  I’m immediately pulled back into my childhood when I see them.  Of course, as a young child, I was convinced they were fairies until my brother and I caught a bunch of them and trapped them in a jar.  And, yet, there’s a thing about their chemistry that readers will read in the second book … a very important part of the storyline that has to do with the main character.

FIREFLY was a natural name for book two.  Blair, like me, loves summertime.  And though FIREFLY takes readers through a bleak winter before the blossom of summer, she is the firefly and was nicknamed that by Everett, who is her true love.  I cannot elaborate too much on this without giving spoilers.

Book three has already been named and will keep with the theme of insects.  I have a feeling that once readers have read the last paragraph of FIREFLY, they’ll know what the title of book 3 is and why.  They’ll also know the fullness of the reason books 1 and 2 were named CICADA and FIREFLY.

Although, the characters brought this storyline to life and named the books, in my heart of hearts this trilogy is a nod to my childhood, my siblings, and a group of friends with whom I spent so many childhood summer adventures.  And, so, I invite you all to dive into these books and experience those days of magic with me!


  1. Thank you! It's an honor to be on your lovely blog today! <3

    1. Thanks for your time in writing the post!



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