What’s in a Name?

I picked Katja as the name of Avril’s missing friend because I thought it was unique enough that it would make Avril suspect Lily knows her when she names the baby Katja. But when naming characters, it’s important not to have two names too similar or readers might easily get confused as to who is who.

Jo’s friend Keisha also has a unique name and while maybe both names are unique enough that it won’t be confusing, I see no reason to risk it. Therefore Katja is now Zara, specifically Zara Rose.

“Zara? Zara Rose? I haven’t seen her for months. I thought you two were friends. Why come here looking for her?”

The name works on another level, too, since Zara is transgender and would have chosen her new name, one that she identifies with due to the Algerian heritage in her grandparents’ cultural background.

What do you think of the new name? And don’t forget to check out the latest excerpts posted in my Birthing the Next Street Story blog.

Nurture vs. Nature: Fostering Kids Can Make A Difference

As I was researching background on my character Booker T. Brooks for the next Street Stories novel, I found this blog by foster mother Shelley Cadamy.  She posted the video below that shows the life of a foster child through the girl’s own eyes.  My character and his cousin Shorty were taken from their mothers due to negligence, not direct abuse, but the fear and confusion and anger portrayed in the video have to be pretty universal, I would think, regardless of the circumstances that spawn the emotions.

While the story portrayed below is not entirely indicative of Booker T’s journey, I hope it will touch your heart in some way and maybe even encourage anyone who is a foster parent, or is thinking of being a foster parent, to give foster kids the benefit of the doubt and hang in there as long as it takes to bring them back from the dark world their past has spun around them.

In my book, Booker T and Shorty turn out with almost exact opposite personalities despite the similarities of their start in life. Was it some fundamental essence within themselves that made the difference, or the circumstantial paths they traveled once separated? I tend to believe nurture goes a long way to directing nature to achieve its fullest positive outcome.