Saturday, August 6, 2016

Names & Timelines for My Dec 1941 Story

My latest writing project will be under my actual name, not my pen name. It is a novelette which will be part of a boxset being published to commemorate the 75th anniversary of this war.

My interest in writing stories about World War II started with my desire to share a bit of my father’s experiences in that war. However, he did not serve until the end of the war. Also, he fought in the European Theater. 

This project deals with the month the United States became involved after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. To citizens of the United States, Pearl Harbor seems to be the outstanding event of that month and year. However, this collection is being written by authors from around the world. Included stories will share events that happened worldwide that month.

For my offering, I chose an event close to home connected to the war in the Pacific.

I had been researching, but realized after becoming familiar with the names of the big players involved, and the general timelines of the era and place, the next thing I needed to do was select the names of my characters and work out their timelines.

Here is the timeline for my Kaufmann family:

Florence Kaufmann may have had ancestry on her mother’s side that dated back to the American Revolution, but her father was a first-generation American. His parents immigrated to the United States shortly after the formation of Germany as a united country when there was still a lot of upheaval in that part of the world. I didn’t need to do a lot of research on those particulars since that is a situation that affected the German (Prussian) line of my family.

Here is the timeline for my Osaki family:

This family took a little more work to put together. It is entirely fictional, although the Yamato Colony in California’s Central Valley where this family in my story lives and works is not. There were more than one Yamato Colonies (Yamato means “Japan”) in the United States, but this one was near the west coast.

These timelines were important in helping me get the details of my story correct. For example, I had hoped I could write Ellen as a second generation (sansei) Japanese-American. However, based on when this colony was formed, it didn’t work. She is a first-generation citizen born in the United States (nisei), but her father who came from Japan as a child is not a citizen (issei). These distinctions made a difference in how I wrote the story.

Another note about naming practices at this time: I noticed as I looked at 1940 U.S. Census records and other records of Japanese-American families from that era many of the children had been given both an anglicized name and a Japanese name. For example, although I didn’t write it on this timeline, Ellen’s full name is Ellen Naoko Osaki and her brother is John Hikeo Osaki.

Speaking of names, this topic and style of writing will be entirely different than my stories already written under Robyn Echols. I am considering using Robyn Hobusch Echols for my World War II books. What do you think? Please feel free to leave a comment about what author name I should use.

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