There are two things most new readers are curious about when they discover my books. First is my hair, and I’ve answered the whys and wherefores of that on this page.
The second question is, “Is that your real name? Where did you get it?”
So here’s the story: My parents found out that I was on my way right before my dad left for his first tour of Vietnam (so you can probably take a good guess at my age. . .). Since this was before email or cell phones, they wanted to choose names before my father left. A boy’s name was pre-determined: my mother insisted a son would be named for my dad. But a girl’s name presented a greater challenge.
My father liked the name Audra, but there was an extended family member with whom my mother was not close, and she was afraid that person would think they were calling their baby after her. So my dad, who was famous for his ability to compromise, suggested that they take the “T” from their last name (Thompson), add it to Audra. . change the “u” to a “w” (I have no idea why they decided to do that) and make it Tawdra.
The postscript is that my mom didn’t really love the new name; but she knew she was having a boy, and so she didn’t worry about it. Her doctor also assured her that the baby was a boy.
Months later, I was born. The doctor took one look at me and said, “Holy shit, it’s a girl.” And my mom was stuck with giving me that crazy name (she comforted herself by choosing my middle name).
I’ve spent my life spelling my name to new teachers, new friends. . .explaining its pronunciation. . .the most common mistake seems to be that people think there’s an “n” in there somewhere.
I’ve never met another Tawdra, although apparently there was a native American tribe with my name (Miskito Indians, also known as Tawdra or the people of beautiful hair) and at one point, there was a fairly unpleasant character in some online game that also had my name.
In spite of the drawbacks, I’m grateful to my parents for gifting me with this unique name. It’s been a great boon as an author. . .I’m the writer with purple hair and the weird name.