I’ve been thinking about names lately. In many of my works in progress (Thirteen Nights coming soon), my characters juggle names. They either move between worlds and use a different name for each or have to go incognito or in hiding so they have to live their hidden life with another name. Integral to human stories is the power of naming. Think Rumpelstilskin.
In Race to Redemption, my sci fi romance, the heroine, Elaina, finds herself in a new life with the name Lainie. Clearly a diminutive, the new name comes with a separate reality and changing view of the world. Elaina was a celebrity, a champion race pilot; Lainie a medical transport driver in a destitute, desert world. When she reveals this to the hero, who is none to happy to have been shammed, what does he call her moving forward? When he finally declares his love, which happens much, much later in the book, which name does he use? For Elaina/Lainie, the names have different meanings. Which does she choose, and how does she fuse the elements of the other back into a whole. Or should she choose a third name–Ella, Elle, Ellie, Anna–to mark a new chapter in her journey and a significant break from the past?