#RitesofSpring: Kat’s new name

1st Place: Kindle Fire 2nd Place: $50 Amazon gift certificate

The wonderful Jessica Subject and Heather Long have organized this Rites of Spring bloghop, and there are some wonderful prizes (Kindle Fire and $50 Amazon gift certificate). To be eligible to win, please leave your email address in the body of your comment. If you want to leave a comment but don’t want to be part of the contest, omit your email address.

In addition to the grand prizes, I will randomly select TWO lucky winners to receive a copy of one book of their choice from my list (The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus, Desire in Any Language, Editorial Board, or The Way Home). HOWEVER, copy-paste “generic” comments will be disqualified. Your comment must address the content of this post. Best of luck!

Because my site doesn’t support Rafflecopter (necessary to enter the grand prize drawing), please instead visit the Rafflecopter site here to enter in the prize drawing. There are 75 other authors participating in this bloghop, so be sure to check out other authors! Everyone is posting about a character’s first.

A dark-haired girl is sitting on one of the beds, surrounded by matching floral suitcases and a rainbow of crates set up on one side of the room. Around the window, she has put up a fake curtain made from contact paper. On her desk sits a vase filled with poppies and encircled with a red ribbon around the neck.

I clear my throat and croak, “Are you Natalie?”

The girl drops the books she is sorting, and she springs to a standing position. Her eyes take in my suitcases before she asks, “Oh… oh! Yes. So, are you Katherine?”

“It’s Kat,” I say, trying not to blush. It is time that I lost my baby name. Katie sounds cute and perky, two things I am not.

The Way Home, my newest release that is entering its third week on the Amazon Top 100 list, tells the story of two girls, Kat Astra and Natalie Mestecom. They meet in their new college dorm room, and they bond instantly. The next ten years of their relationship are chronicled in The Way Home and will continue in the sequel (scheduled for publication by LazyDay on June 6th, which is incidentally Kat’s birthday).

Kat’s “first” is this moment when she consciously chooses to cut off ties to her old, childhood name and begin life with a new one. Although she is quite shy and not fond of interviews, she agreed to share some of her thoughts about changing her name.

Anastasia Vitsky: Kat, was this a first for you? Had you ever determined your own nickname before?

Kat Astra: When I was growing up, everyone called me Katie. Kids at school, my teachers, my family…well, everyone except my mom. She…(pause).

Anastasia Vitsky: She called you something different, didn’t she?

Kat Astra: Yes. (clearing throat) She called me Katie Beth. Because my full name is Katherine Elizabeth, and…(voice trails off)

Anastasia Vitsky: I’m sorry, I know how much you miss her.

Kat Astra: Sometimes other people would call me Katie Beth, but not often. That was her special name for me.

Anastasia Vitsky: Why did you choose to change your name when you went to college? Did you think about it ahead of time?

Kat Astra: No, not at all. I thought I was going to answer Natalie’s question by saying that I was Katie, but then I ended up saying something different.

Anastasia Vitsky: And now everyone calls you Kat, right?

Kat Astra: Yes, it feels funny to hear my old nickname. Although sometimes people get my name wrong and call me Kate, Kathy, and once even Kitty. I do get called Katherine a lot by telemarketers and people who have official paperwork.

Anastasia Vitsky: What was it like to introduce yourself as Kat for the first time? Are you glad that you did it?

Kat Astra: I never told Natalie this, but I wanted to take my words back! I felt foolish and as if she would know that my name really was Katie. She accepted me as Kat, though. She’s always accepted me. She made a silly joke about us being Kat and Nat, and I think there was an addition about a mat.

Anastasia Vitsky: Why did you pick Kat? Why not Kate, Kathy, or Kitty?

Kat Astra: I don’t know! Kat was the first nickname that popped into my head. Now, though, I couldn’t picture myself as anything but Kat.

Anastasia Vitsky: Why was changing your nickname an important first for you?

Kat Astra: It was the first time that I made a decision about my life without having to ask someone else for permission. For the first time, I got to determine what happened to me. I was the youngest in my family, and I never really got a say in things. Meeting Natalie was the best thing that’s ever happened to me, but part of what made it great is that it helped me figure out who I am. I’m no longer baby Katie, but I’m Kat. Even better, I’m Natalie’s Kat.

Anastasia Vitsky: Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. I know it’s hard for you to talk to others, and I’m glad you suggested doing the interview alone. You seem more comfortable without Natalie.

Kat Astra: Natalie is my best friend and the person in my life I can count on the most, but sometimes she can be scary. Please don’t tell her I said that.

Anastasia Vitsky: I won’t breathe a word. Do you have any final comments for our readers?

Kat Astra: I was wondering if anyone else has changed your name, like me, for the first time. Did it surprise you the way it surprised me? Or have you always gone by the same name?

Anastasia Vitsky: Thank you again, Kat. Please tell Natalie hello for me.

Kat Astra: Please tell her not to read this interview. Bye!

The-Way-Home

The Way Home, Lazy Day
Natalie always wanted a little sister.  Kat didn’t know she was allowed to want anything…or anyone.

Kat, a shy farmgirl, arrives at her freshman dorm with a backpack, a suitcase, and her mother’s wish for Kat to attend college “at least until you get married”. Her roommate Natalie, a confident and fun-loving social butterfly, decides sight unseen that Kat will become her best friend for life. Natalie teaches Kat about college life, academics, and friendship by taking Kat under her wing…and over her knee.

Then their lives fall apart one fateful night on campus, and for the rest of the decade Kat and Natalie struggle to find their way back to each other. Their way home.

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26 thoughts on “#RitesofSpring: Kat’s new name

  1. pao says:

    Hi Kat! Hi Ana! Great to see you here again 🙂 My highschool friends called me pao to tease me but somehow that name caught on and my family started calling me that as well. I never hear my real name anymore…unless it’s work or real trouble. Katie Beth sounds very sweet. Thank you, Kat and Ana for the interview!

    Like

  2. Shelly Hammond says:

    This was such a fun post to read! The interview was great. I love things like this that really get you into the the characters and the stories. This was an interesting first to share, with the nickname change being the start of a new life and everything. Dang, now I want to read this right now and I really need to do a hop or two more and do some work around the house (blah!!). It sounds like a great book and the cover is beautiful.

    As for that spring thing (if we have to keep that favorite thing about spring thing theme going through out the hop here, though those flowers on the book cover might have summed it right on up) my very favorite thing about spring is opening up the windows again and seeing other peoples flowers (I don’t have a green thumb so it’s plant cruelty for me to try to grow things). I am starting to miss the fresh air!
    Thank you for the chance to enter the giveaway and happy spring everyone!
    Shelly H.
    Booski24@hotmail.com

    Like

  3. Cat says:

    Hey Kat…My name is Cat also…just spelled differently and it was given to me by my Dad. I really enjoyed your answers…they were very honest and I could tell they really came from your heart.

    Hey Ana…Thank you for a lovely interview with Kat. Not exactly sure what I’m entering but here ya go: catsbrighteyes @ gmail.com

    Blessings,
    Cat

    Like

  4. minelle says:

    Kat, It is so much fun when you like your nickname isn’t it. It doesn’t matter how we get the name….although it must have felt powerful for you to choose!

    Anna such a wonderful read darlin!

    Like

  5. Celina K says:

    I wish I had a name that could be shortened to a cool nickname too! ‘C’ is the closest anyone has ever come – I suppose it could be shortened to Lena, but nobody ever had except children 🙂 Thank you for sharing the excerpt, I enjoyed it.

    dreammie_angel at yahoo dot com

    Like

  6. Catherine says:

    I also have a change-of-name story. I grew up a Cathy. Then, I got married just around the time I started my first professional career and moved to West Virginia. My married name was LEE. All of a sudden, everyone would ask, “Cathy Lee WHAT”…like Kathy Lee Gifford, etc. Suddenly, I have a new married last name and a new first name–Catherine. Now, I’ve gone by Catherine for as long as I went by Cathy and it’s RARE that anyone calls me Cathy.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

    Like

  7. susan platt says:

    I am so Proud of Kat for finding the courage to attend college and introduce herself as Kat! It is very hard to change anything when you are incredibly shy!

    susanmplatt AT hotmail DOT com

    Like

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