Each of the characters in each of my stories are based on real people in my life or are inspired by other characters from literary or film productions. Nothing about them is accidental - from their appearance, to their quirks and mannerisms, to some of their dialogue, and their views on life and how they interact with themselves and other characters in the story (and sometimes across stories!).
As the countdown to the official release day of The Acorn Tattoo continues to draw nearer, I'd like to introduce you to a few of its leading characters. You'll meet them all within the first few chapters of the book, but over this blog series I'll share more on their characters and the symbolism behind each (including how they tie back to the original muse of this story, J.M. Barrie's Peter and Wendy, which I'll post more about in a combined blog soon).
I have to say, the characters in The Acorn Tattoo were probably some of the easiest to name that I have ever written. Claire especially.
Claire: means luminous, bright, simple, and strong. It is pronounced with a barely distinguishable French accent (which itself is symbolic in our story) and is a name that is familiar yet distinctive, feminine but not frilly, and is modern with historical depth.
Baker: like many occupational Middle English names, Baker is derived from the Middle English bakere and Old English Baecere - both of which ultimately mean "to bake." It may have been used for someone whose special task was in the kitchen, whether at home or in some castle of lore.
Together, Claire Baker rings with a tone that is distinctly warm and feminine. It conjures up emotions of softness, comfort, and - the ultimately core of what Peter and Wendy both want (as does everyone else in the story) - home and family. As a secondary benefit, this is especially important for Claire who is an orphan herself and constantly seeking to find her place in the larger world.
So, is Claire Wendy or is she Pan?
The answer is neither, and both, but ultimately she does err on the side of a Wendy for me. Claire doesn't want to "grow up" (qualified in the story as accepting herself, blooming into womanhood, and embracing her sexuality and more adult emotions and needs), but hers is the character that sees the most growth and development over the story. That said, she is not the only character whose position changes, and Claire never quite lets go of that intrinsically childish ability to always look for the silver lining and happy endings. She's clever and captivating, and is quite capable of writing the story the way she wants it to unfold - which is very Pan-like.
In the end, we see Claire make a big choice - which itself is a symbol of growing up and maturity. But, is her choice one that means leaving her Neverland behind or clinging to it? Is she our hero or our villain? That will ultimately be for you to decide.
Fiction writer in New York. Chai enthusiast. Lover of all Internet cat memes.