Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thoughts on Taking a Pen Name

Okay, so I think pretty much everyone knows what you see is what you get with me at this point.

Well, except for the name. When I first started considering writing erotic romance, I knew I wanted a pen name. My kids went to a super conservative school and the last thing I wanted was them to be in any way singled out because "their mom writes porn." Middle school is damn hard enough without that crap added to it.

Now that my oldest son has a girlfriend, (eep!) I'm really glad I have a pen name. Most every conversation with her starts and ends with, "I'm gonna die if I don't know...what's your pen name?" The girlfriend is awesome and I adore her, but she has a Kindle and she's a book buying fool. (Which is fantastic - I approve!) However, her parents who are extremely strict would stroke out if they knew what I wrote, and that would be the end of her relationship with my son. Again, I'm not interested in making my kids' lives miserable because of my job.

The great thing is that she asked Killian once for my pen name and his response was, "How much respect would you have for me if I gave away a secret that was important to someone else?" She grudgingly admitted that her respect level would drop. Then she said, "Okay. I get that. I won't ask you again. But I'm totally bugging your mom." He laughed an told her to go for it. So she does. She told me straight out that she hopes someday I'll give in and tell her. I told her I would when she's 18. This didn't make her happy, but oh well.

If other people ask - people that I'd prefer not know - I usually just say something along the lines of "I prefer to keep my personal life and professional life separate. So far, that line is working great.

So what about you? Pen name or no pen name?


J.C. Hanks said...

Pen name...mostly because I worked for a uber conservative college when I started writing. And with the LGBTQ references in most of my books, and for the premise of my Merie character, I would have been fired. Instead they got stuck laying me off and paying me severance. Bwahaha! :)

Although, seriously, anyone who knows me well can figure out my pen name. Luckily the new bosses think it's cool I write, as long as I show up for work.

Patricia Kiyono said...

I've written educational materials under my real name, so when I started writing fiction, I chose to use a pen name. And the pen name sounds more ethnic than my real name.

Tess Grant said...

I use a pen name. I would have preferred to use my own name but it's already in use by several others. Plus since I write YA, and at least one other person with my name writes erotica, I thought that wasn't a good mix. I would have used my maiden name but it's long and Polish and very unauthorish.

Patricia Kiyono said...

Tess, that's so ironic - I chose a pen name (which is actually a version of my maiden name) BECAUSE it's more ethnic, and you rejected a name for the same reason!