Do you think a particular character's name within a novel can make or break the story?
If the nice little old lady mentioned in Chapter 3 exhibits the exact same habit as your grandmother of tittering whenever she laughs, will you enjoy the tale more? Maybe the hero’s name matches that of a well-regarded high school sweetheart, or a less than stellar ex-husband. Will the memories conjured up by the mention of this name influence your opinion of the character one way or the other?
In my first draft of For Every Action, two of the supporting characters were:
1. Monica Allen, a friend of the protagonist, and
2. Bill Jacobs, the office manager.
After I’d read aloud a scene involving these two characters to a Creative Writing class I attended, the first comment uttered was, “I was waiting for Monica to call him Mr. President.”
I had completely missed any connection to past “affairs” within the White House! And though the story contained no mention of D.C. politics, the two names together, Monica and Bill, conjured up distracting thoughts for members of the writing class, thereby breaking rather than making the story.
My protagonist's name, on the other hand, has unique qualities. Please allow her to explain:
Almost everyone calls me Pepper. I investigate insurance claims for a company in Wisconsin and the job allows me to travel around the country, but at times it can be murder.
My full name is Kai-Ena Lehua Bibeau.
My father's surname, Bibeau, is derived from the French word, bibau, a soldier who carries a lance or a crossbow. You've probably guessed that I enjoy genealogy research. Digging into family history as a hobby makes me sound like a nerd, but discovering ancestors can be a thrilling experience!
Lehua, my middle name, is for the lehua blossom, a beautiful Hawaiian flower. It commonly develops in various shades of red, orange, or yellow. The lehua kea, white-in-color, is difficult to find and then only on the largest of the Hawaiian islands, the Big Island. You'll learn how I got that name when reading the novel, For Every Action.
My given name, Kai-Ena, is Hawaiian, the language of my mother's people.
KAI is the Hawaiian word for Sea.
ENA means red-hot, glowing;
figuratively: raging or angry.
Kai-Ena translates to a raging sea, a storm, a gale.