Like the characters in a lot of my books, the names on the birth certificates for Beach and Tai aren’t the names they are used to hearing themselves called, or even how they think of themselves.
Beach, as I mentioned in the earlier post has the first name David. He’s much more accustomed to his prep-school nickname of Beach, and that’s how he thinks of himself. However, from the first, Tai calls him David. As their relationship progresses, that one word David comes to mean something very special to Beach. But only Tai gets to call him that okay?
Tai. Wow. He and I fumbled for a name we both liked. Initially, he was Van. His mom had watched Trading Places over and over while she was pregnant with him and named him Valentine, which got shortened to Van. But neither of us were happy with it. The length was right, but it was missing his connection to his dad. I did research into Samoan naming customs. I knew his dad’s mom and aunts were there for his birth. Based on my research I came up with Toluaotai, which I hope means as I intended it to, Three Clouds Over the Ocean. Also based on my research, I found that name variants and family versions were common, so Tai he was. He got pretty tired of pronouncing it for people, so his probation officer listing is for T. Samuel Fonoti.
Poor Beach didn’t even know what Tai’s first name was until chapter five. But Tai was and is just fine with Beach calling him Sir.
That kind of name game isn’t unusual for me and my characters, though. I wonder if it’s because I’ve answered to so many different names/nicknames in my life. Pen name, geekdom name, nicknames. My parents chose to call me by my middle name from birth, so I’ve always been a little confused by one of life’s most basic questions. I still stammer a little when someone says, “Hi. What’s your name?” It shouldn’t surprise me that I’ve infected my characters with the same dilemma.
Check back to hang out with them over the next couple of days. Ask them any questions you would like in the comments.
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