The naming of THE TRAZ by Eileen Schuh


The wonderful part of being a novelist is that I get to create entire worlds and then populate them with people—who I also get to create. It’s a very God-like profession.
I found it exciting to create both a biker gang and police detachment for my YA crime novel, THE TRAZ. If I were the leader of a gang, I began, what kinds of people would I put in power? What would the regular members be like? What would the gang do? And…what would I call my gang?
I spend many hours trying to find a name I liked. I started out with the usual route for gangs, scrounging through the thesauruses of my life for words equivalent or suggestive of evil—words like dark, devil, shadow, and Lucifer.
After running the gauntlet of wickedness, I realized that I wanted my gang to have name like no other. I wanted it to be unmistakably mine—not just for reasons of originality but to keep me safe. (Traditionally, criminal organizations don’t like books being written about them.)
I thought if I had a biker gang, I’d want motorists to be able to read the gang name on the back of my bikers’ black leather jackets as they roared down the highway. I wanted a name, therefore, that was short and tough. (Also, having short names is nice when it comes to typing them over and over during the course of a novel.)
Into my head popped THE TRAZ. Instantly, I knew that was the perfect name. However, I also wondered from where in the world it had come. Worried that I’d heard it somewhere or read it somewhere, I searched and researched. I could find nothing about THE TRAZ other than references to Alcatraz—the notorious and torturous U.S. prison of yore. That connotation worked well for me. It also struck me that the mascot for my local St. Paul Regional High School was TAZ—the Tasmanian Devil. So, that fit in well, too.
THE TRAZ –a cross between a gruesome prison and a fearsome devil. Short and easy to read. Distinctive.
My gang was so powerful and bold that it wished to have no graphics to either conceal or advertise their identity or intent—just the two short words, orange on black—THE TRAZ.
How thrilling it was to receive my first paperback proof and run my fingers over THE TRAZ gang patch on the cover. I could almost smell the leather…

THE TRAZ eBook is free on Amazon Kindle for THREE DAYS ONLY-- April 14, 15 and 16. Don’t have a Kindle? No problem—you can easily download Amazon’s free KINDLE FOR PCs software to read eBooks on your computer.
THE TRAZ is available in paperback and ebook formats and in a special School Edition that includes a Teaching Guide. Click on the following links to purchase or sample THE TRAZ
Amazon eBook
Amazon Paperback
School Edition Paperback
School Edition eBook
Also available from other fine online bookstores.
If THE TRAZ is not on your local bookstore or library shelves, ask for it to be ordered in for you.
“LEAVE A COMMENT, WIN A KINDLE” Virtual Book Tour. Follow me through cyberspace as I promote THE TRAZ on blogs around the world. Each time you leave a comment beneath my guest blogs, I’ll enter your name in my draw for a Kindle. For more details visit my Facebook Fan Appreciation Page or follow me on Twitter.
Eileen Schuh is also the author of the adult Sci-Fi novella SCHRÖDINGER’S CAT
For more information on Schuh and her books visit her at:
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  1. Thank you so much for hosting me, Suzy. How exciting for you to be working on a movie. You'll have to tell us all about that adventure!

  2. I love how Taz was your mascot. And how that plays into your writing and journey to becoming a best selling author and the perfect edit of Eileen.

  3. Thanks, Sarah. I was so afraid that I had heard THE TRAZ seemed so familiar as soon as it popped into my head. And it was such a different gang name than the ones I'd been consciously considering...those evil, dark, shadowy names on par with the Hells Angels.

    The only thing familiar I could think was TAZ , the highschool Tasmanian Devil mascot. And I didn't think of him until hours later.

    Who knows where ideas come from?


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