When I decided to write a story based on my diary, I knew that I would have to change the names of people and places to protect identities. This was especially true with regard to my host au pair family. Acquiring permission from them was out of the question. Totally out of the question. I mean it. Read my book and you’ll understand. Additionally, over thirty years had passed since I spoke with anyone I’d met in France. I no longer had any contact information.
With this in mind, I researched common French names that might fit my characters. I tried them out and retained the names that were a good fit. A handful required more effort. Choosing a name for my main love interest, Adam, was difficult because it had to be plausible in both Morocco and France. Songais, the name I chose for the town had to sound French, but it couldn’t mimic any others in the region. My biggest challenge, was finding a name for the family’s chateau in France. I knew this term would be repeated over and over again and it had to be perfect. In my hometown of Kirkland, there is an old apartment building just off of State Street. I never thought about it much until one day, during a walk with the dog, I glanced at the building, and it clicked. That’s it, I thought. I’ll call it the Chateau de Mont Clare. I loved the way this name rolled off my tongue. During a rewrite, my editor convinced me to alter the spelling to Château de Montclair, but the pronunciation remained the same. I’ve included a picture below. What do you think, did I make the right choice?