HomeLibraryLibrary EducationJenika, a guest post by Kerry O’Malley Cerra

Jenika, a guest post by Kerry O’Malley Cerra

One of my favorite aspects of being an author is visiting schools to chat with kids about books, reading, dogs, my favorite color, and anything else that pops into their brains and out of their mouths. After my first novel, Just a Drop of Water, was published, I spoke at a local middle school. A few weeks later, a packet of thank-you notes showed up at my door. One girl wrote that if I ever needed a character name, she’d love for me to use hers because it’s unusual, and she rarely saw it on knick-knacks in gift shops or anywhere else. With an uncommon first name myself, I could completely relate. When I was growing up, all my friends got cool stuff with their names on them—key chains, mugs, and particularly those coveted little license plates for bikes. I got zip!

I was already writing Hear Me when I read Jenika’s letter. Though I hadn’t met her during my school visit and I didn’t know what she looked like, I wanted to give her a kick-butt character, so I changed the name of my main character’s best friend to Jenika.