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Blog Tour: Ally Condie on Naming Characters in Atlantia

book cover for atlantia by ally condie

Atlantia by Ally Condie (website | twitter)
See also my review of Crossed by Ally Condie
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Dutton Children’s
Pages: 368
Target Audience: Young Adult Fiction
Keywords: underwater city, dystopia, broken world, young adult fantasy
Format Read: Arc received from the Publisher. (Thank you!

Summary (from Goodreads):Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.

Author Ally Condie is hanging out on Rather Be Reading today to discuss the importance of the names she selected in ATLANTIA. I don’t know about you guys, but I always, always want more information about an author’s thought process. Ally so carefully chose each of the names and it really makes my heart sing to learn these details. The whole world just comes alive a little bit more! I’ll be posting my official review later this week, but for now, I want you guys to say hello to Ally and get swept away by a few details in her upcoming release, ATLANTIA!

AllyCondie_credit Erin SummerillWriting Atlantia was a little different from writing my other books. While I always like the names to have meaning (Cassia, Ky, and Xander’s names are all significant to their characters), this time, I wanted the names to connect with water somehow. Because the city of Atlantia is underwater, I felt sure that this connection would occur to the people naming their children Below.

I came up with Rio and Bay’s names very early on in the process—I have to know my main character’s name, or I have a hard time writing. I knew that Rio and Bay’s mother would have thought very carefully and given them names with great meaning. And, since they are twins, I wanted their names to tie together in a significant way but also sound/look very different. Rio is Spanish for river, and a bay is a body of water forming an indentation of the shoreline (and yes, I just got that definition from the dictionary). 😉 Without being too spoiler-y, I think Rio’s mother knew very much what she was doing (and what she hoped for) when she named her daughters after bodies of water that touch both the land and the sea.

The next set of sister names I chose were those of Rio and Bay’s mother, Oceana, and her sister, Maire. Since Oceana was the leader of Atlantia, I wanted her to have a grand, encompassing, womanly name. Oceana means from the sea, and I loved the sound of it. For Maire, I wanted something a bit sharper, a little different. I looked for other names that meant ocean or water, and when I found Maire—which has two meanings (of the sea or bitter), I knew that I’d found the right fit for this particular character. The dual meanings reflect well the dual nature of Maire’s character.

The boys in the story also have names that connect with water. While True’s first name has an obvious meaning (and one that is very connected to his character), it’s his last name, Beck, that reflects the water connection. A beck is a brook, or a swiftly running stream. And that felt right for True and his role in the story. Fen Cardiff, the other main boy in the story, has a name that means marsh—land covered in water. Again, I don’t want to spoil anything, but that has a connection with what happens to Fen in the book as well.

As for naming the city itself, I wanted a name that reflected Atlantis—the lost underwater city of legend—but that sounded more feminine, since the main characters in this book are strong women (I also didn’t want to be tied too tightly to the legends of Atlantis and the preconceptions people have about an Atlantis story). So I changed the ending of the word slightly. I had no idea at the time that we would name the book Atlantia (I always called it Rio, which I knew we couldn’t keep for obvious reasons—the movie, etc.) but I think the fact that it sounded right made my editor think of it as the name for the novel, and I was happy to agree.

Thank you so much, Ally, for stopping by Rather Be Reading!
Friends, ATLANTIA is such a fun read. It was so nice to disappear into a world so
different than what I’ve been reading lately. Add this one to your TBRs!

Add ATLANTIA to Goodreads | Pre-Order from Amazon | Pre-order from Barnes & Noble

team above ally condie atlantia

And join us on Team Above — who would want to live underwater anyway? A few reasons why above is better: SUNSHINE, sand, fresh air, STARS, and um, history. I can’t imagine living below water where — don’t you think it would feel like living in a snow globe?

October 22, 2014 - 10:29 pm

Tomasina - This book just sounds so amazing and the authors explanation of her usage of water based names interest me even further. I can’t wait to give it a read!

October 15, 2014 - 4:50 pm

Alexa S. - I’m pretty curious about the characters after reading all about their names! Names are very important things after all, and I know it’ll sound strange, but I’m predisposed to be more interested in a book if I like a character’s name! Will probably check out Atlantia at some point 🙂

October 14, 2014 - 9:56 am

Benni @ Benni's Bookbiters - I really can’t wait for this book! I also can’t get the Duran Duran song out of my head, when the main character’s name is Rio…

October 13, 2014 - 10:41 am

Brianna - This is really interesting, and now I’m looking forward to this book even more. Thanks so much for sharing.

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