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Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I love how things fall into place sometimes.

The latest example happened last week. I've had these heroes kind of hanging around since I wrote Eternal Nights. They're the other members of Wyatt's team. They come and go because their stories aren't active projects, but since I wrote Troll's story, they've hung around more than they did before that.

One of these guys is Zach. If you read Troll's story, you might remember him mentioning Z-Man. That's Zach.

For the longest time, he didn't gel for me. That normally means I don't know something important about the character yet. If I wrote more J9 books, he'd be the third, so I haven't worried much about it. And I've had characters that I was vague about before and it's all worked out fine, so why stress? Then the pieces began to fall into position. The first came with Zach's ethnicity. He's part Japanese. I think he's part Hawaiian, too. Learning this was key.

More information followed, but I remained stymied on his last name. Then I started hearing in my head: Zach Nishikawa.

I dismissed it at first, but it didn't go away, so I Googled Japanese surnames. No Nishikawa listed on any of the sites I visited and I probably checked out half a dozen. Ergo, not a real name. My next assumption was that I was getting part of it wrong and wrote down a list of all the surnames that ended in -kawa. None felt right. And I still kept hearing Zach Nishikawa.

Sometimes I'm a little slow. I finally decided to Google Nishikawa instead of Japanese surnames and see if I got any hits that proved it was a real name. And guess what? It is. There are lots of Nishikawa hits--more than 3 billion.

It is a real name!

See what I mean about things falling into place? A skeptic will tell me that I probably heard the name sometime in the past and my subconscious dredged it up now. It's possible. But I like to believe that Zach was talking to me and that serendipity was involved.