How Authors Choose Their Characters’ Names

Sariah Readin

This is my cousin’s daughter–ostensibly my niece–Sariah.

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If you can’t tell, we’re best friends. In fact, when my grown-up best friend, Jessica, told Sariah that she wanted to be the flower girl for my wedding, Sariah sat her down to break the news to her gently. She said that Jessica couldn’t be the flower girl because Sariah and I had been best friends since she was born. The whole thing was so sweet Jessica left in tears and deemed Sariah more deserving of the job.

So!! When I needed to name a very important mermaid in my book, I knew what the name would be without any hesitation.

Sariah’s mom sent me the top picture last week and said that Sariah had been reading Breathing Water all night and then woke up early to continue reading.

This was a magical moment for me. I was misty-eyed and emotional all morning and I’ve looked at the picture a hundred times since.

I never told Sariah that I named a character after her.

I keep imagining Sariah reading along and suddenly seeing a character with her name, written by her best friend, and knowing it was named after her.

And that will be a magical moment for her.

The whole thing fills me with a warm gooey-ness.


2 thoughts on “How Authors Choose Their Characters’ Names

  1. That is the sweetest! It will be so special for her. It will be something she will have her whole life knowing how much she means to you

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  2. I will have to have her sit me down again and tell me with great compassion why there is no character named after me. This photo brings me to tears. You will never fully understand the joy she will feel when she sees this. It will be beautiful in her memory forever!!!!

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