Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Part of the fun of writing a novel is naming the characters. Since Katsuren is set in Okinawa, I wanted the names to sound authentic. One of the most common surnames there is Shiroma, and it includes the kanji character for a castle like Katsuren.

Other choices were not so obvious. One is the surname Ganaha. It, too, is very common, though quite difficult to write in kanji. However, if an ethnic name is to be used, it should be easy to pronounce. Ganaha, with three rhyming syllables, fills the bill nicely.

But---if the character's last name is a long one, his first name needs to be short. Thus, the hero of Katsuren gets a two letter first name, Yu. Some readers may be surprised by a name that sounds like a familiar, but totally unrelated, English word. That's good.

In reading Katsuren, it is a good idea to be prepared for the fact that things are not always what they seem.

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