Pen names. To have or have not.

TRACEE: Did you ever consider using a pseudonym for your writing? Why or why not. And if you have a second writing life we don’t know about confess now! although you don’t have to give away your secret life just hint broadly.

CONNIE: Great question. I’ve often thought about a pseudonym. What would I choose and why? Usually authors chose a name that not only resonates with readers in their genre but also has a personal meaning for them. There are several I could choose. But with only one series going at the moment, I have no need for a pseudonym. Now, if I start something new…

I actually have a question for those who do have pseudonyms: if you go with a new publisher, do they require you to choose another name?

What about all the people who know you by name and would follow the new series if they knew it was you?

EMILYA: Hi! I briefly thought about it when I wondered if having a male name might be more desirable, but then immediately 
decided that if I was going to burn, I’d burn under my own name. I’m glad I did. The other week a woman I hadn’t spoken with since we were both ten reached out to me because she saw my book in the library and wondered if I was the same Emilya. That felt kind of cool. 

TRACEE: I’m sure you’ve all heard how Lee Child picked his pen name! And course Joanne Rowling went with J.K. for exactly the reason you mention, Emilya. She was afraid boys wouldn’t read a book by a girl. 

KEENAN: I have not considered a pseudonym. The name I was given is a big deal for both sides of the family.  My first name is in honor of my great grandmother who died shortly after birthing her fourth child.

My last name carries some import, at least for those who have it. I’m not sure why. Most of my sisters and girl cousins either never changed their last name or changed back to the maiden name after divorce.

SUSAN: When I was a young reporter, before I was married, I used my name, which was Sue Zelony. Then, when I got married, I changed my name to Sue Breen. Then when my first novel, The Fiction Class, came out, my editor thought it sounded better to be Susan Breen. I considered Susan Zelony Breen, but that seemed like a lot. So I’ve never had a pseudonym, but my name has evolved. 

CONNIE: Susan, I’d wanted to be Connie Campbell Berry, but Crooked Lane said it was too long to fit on the cover.

MICHELE: I have considered using a pseudonym because using an initial and your middle name is a royal pain in the butt. Every time I try outwitting a computer, I ask what were my parents thinking of. But every writer I know acknowledges their real name next to their pseudonym, so what is the point? 

TRACEE: Has anyone followed the Elena Ferrante saga? Her identity if a very, very closely held secret. One of the few true pseudonyms. 

EMILYA: I was just thinking of her yesterday! Every time I force myself to do social media self promotional stuff and hate it, I think longingly of her and how she just doesn’t care. I love it. I want to be her. 

TRACEE: It’s possible in her other life she is the most active Instagrammer on the planet, we just don’t know. However, I doubt it. 

ALEXIA:  I’ve never seriously considered a pen name because I wanted to see my name on book covers. However, I did come up with a couple (which shall remain secret) in case I needed them.

TRACEE: Now this will be the mystery to occupy my mind today. What would Alexia choose as a pen name. But I have followed the quest to unveil Elena Ferrante and keep thinking who cares about her real identity. You don’t need to know this to enjoy her books. With that in mind, I will let Alexia’s pen name possibilities be her secret. 

Pen name or no pen name, what would you choose? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter

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