I’m so glad you asked! I’ll tell you. While Zoser is not the only character in S&D with two names, he is perhaps the most important (sorry, Cerwin). In case you’ve forgotten, Zoser is Spanish, and his real name is Neron Giovanni. ‘Neron’ means ‘strong’ in Spanish, so it was a natural choice for my villain—plus, I just like the way it sounds. Now, I can’t reveal much of his backstory yet, but I can explain why he changed his name: as you know, humans and elves don’t get along very well, and since humans have been supposedly extinct for centuries, their comeback was a bit of a surprise to the elves. For reasons I can’t yet tell, Neron didn’t want his name being associated with the return of the humans, so before he even began rebuilding the army, he changed his name. Okay, you say, so Neron means ‘strong.’ What does Zoser mean? Zoser, or Djoser, is the name of the first Egyptian pharaoh to have stone pyramids built (before that, they were typically made of mud bricks). By the end of his reign, the six-step pyramid at Saqqara was the largest man-made building of its time. Basically, the guy changed the Egyptian world—and since Neron is pretty well-read, I figured he’d go for a name like Zoser. It communicates strength, power, and revolutionary change. Plus, I get to give my readers a fun little history lesson!
And in case you were wondering, Cerwin’s real name is Nicola Giovanni. Her name doesn’t have a deep psychological backstory; I named her after one of my best friends :)