For fellow Name-O-Philes

It's a silly little victory, I know. And vanity at its finest. But whatever, it makes me happy. I finally was able to get ahold of the domain name Kjersten.com and parked it at my website address. It's a lovely feeling to own my first name on the big WWW. I went ahead and parked Kjerstenhayes.com on the site while I was at it. I hope I don't get arrested by the vanity police. Even if I do, I still love my name.

It's a bit of a cliche, but as a kid I had mixed feelings about my name. Primarily for the same reason I absolutely love it now: it had a j in it. It was unusual, a bit weird, a bit off (I actually often went by Kj as a kid because no one could pronounce Kjersten. I doubt I would have had that problem if I was raised in Sweden, but I digress).

So naturally I love stories like Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, about a mouse who learns to love her name and blogs like The Baby Name Wizard Blog that track cultural trends in naming.

I'm especially interested in why authors choose the names they do for their characters. The names in The Hunger Games or Harry Potter for example, are examples of books with name choices that fascinate me. The names within fit those books so perfectly -- there's almost a "voice" to the choice of names. Hermione just wouldn't be in the same one-of-the-most-awesome-characters-ever category with a more modern-sounding name like Madison. (Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with the name Madison, but I don't think it fits Hermione's character or the Harry Potter books at all).

Laura Wattenberg of Baby Name Wizard fame has several great posts on her blog about character names in books. If you are a writer obsessed with character names or a fellow name-o-phile of the variety that likes to read, check out these and other posts on her blog:
  • Names In Translation (If you don't read any others, read this one -- one of my favorite posts of hers about how names are translated when books are translated)
And oh there are so many, many more great posts about names of characters in books, T.V. and movies on her blog.

There's even a post about people naming their children so that they can "own" their name on the internet (Are you Googleable?).

Hmm... I doubt my mom was thinking about that when she kept the j in my name. I'm pretty sure she was just copying my great-great-grandma's name, letter for letter. Little did she know that years into the future when someone searched for my name on a crazy thing called the internet, most everything they'd find would most likely actually be referring to me (instead of another Kjersten Hayes).

So yes, if you want to know pathetic past running race times (I probably was running, not walking, despite the slow speeds you'd see) from races I've participated in, or see a partial history of craft shows I've participated in over the years, just Google my name. At least my website will (hopefully) also be near the top of the list.