What’s in a Name?

When I’m writing, there’s always a reason for the names I choose.  Even place names.  Paxton is the name of the town where Hildemara and Trip end up.  Paxton was the name of the street in Oakland where my parents lived as a young married couple.  The street is long gone, bull-dozed and under a freeway.

Marta is the German equivalent for Martha, my grandmother’s name.  Hildemara means “glorious”.  Another name close to it is Hilde which means “warrior”. 

In every book I’ve written, the names have meaning and purpose to the story.  Sometimes names change the course of writing a novel.  Very often, the changing of a name changes the direction of the story.

Characters (and people) can grow into their names.

Names are important.  My mother wanted to call me Francesco.   Dad liked Frances.  They compromised and came up with Francine.  Francine was soon shortened to Francie and then Franny.  Rick waited for years to call me Granny Franny!  We both get a kick of it.

Soon after I entered the Rivers clan, my father-in-law dubbed me Frankie.  He also called me Mouse Protector.  Why?  He discovered a small bite taken out of an apple.  Dad loved his apples, and so he set a trap for the little nibbler.  Mortified that he could kill such a cute little creature just because it was hungry, I sprung the trap and left the cheese conveniently on the counter beside Dad’s bowl of apples.  Over the years, Mouse Protector was shortened to MP.  Dad Bill loved a good laugh and, over the years, gave me numerous and varied stone and ceramic mice.  My favorite is a mouse-in-a-shoe toothpick holder.  It sits on my kitchen window sill.

Does your name have special meaning? 

What nicknames have you had, and how did they come about?

If you could change your name, what would it be?