Set You Free – What’s in a Name, Part Two

Only 6 days until the release of Set You Free – Available only on Amazon

Last week, I posted regarding the significance of the main characters’ names in Set You Free.  This week I want to talk about the setting of the novel.  The fictional fishing village of Opechancanoe is a bit like the small bayside town that I live in.  I chose the name Opechancanoe as my own variation on the Native American name Opchanacanough, a tribal chief in eastern Virginia during the 1600s.  (It’s not uncommon for the Anglicized versions to mangle the original.)  The name means, “He whose soul is white.”  In contrast, Opchanacanough organized and led bloody attacks on English settlers in 1622 and 1644.  Geographically, this name doesn’t fit the book’s setting.  Although many places on the Eastern Shore bear Native American names, Opchanacanough’s tribal home was on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay from where our story takes place. I struggled with this over the two and a half years that I worked on Set You Free, and many times sought a different name. Each time I left the name unchanged.  In the end, I ignored this inconsistency because I was drawn to the meaning of the name, “he whose soul is white,” in stark contrast to the killing of hundreds of English settlers.  Set You Free is a story about people struggling with stark contrasts – right and wrong, good and evil, lies and truth.  In some respects, Set You Free is a story about seeking a soul that is white – free from guilt and self-doubt.  A little town named Opechancanoe was the perfect backdrop for this story.