So, I don’t use a pen name.
I’m starting to wonder if this is odd. I belong to several online writers groups and a larger, state wide writers group and, quite honestly, I was surprised to see TONS of people write under a pen name. “Blah blah writing as blah blah.” Or, “I write <this genre> under <this pen name> and <this other genre> under <this other pen name>.”
I guess I just never thought about it. I just always assumed, hey, I’m Heather. Heather wrote this, therefore, it should be published under Heather’s name.
I’ve seen, for example, erotica authors explain they write under a pen name since they feel somewhat uncomfortable sitting at, say, the PTA meeting knowing their kid’s teacher knows they wrote, “Molly, Polly, and what the Parrot Saw.” This makes sense. I can get on board with that.
I’m assuming–and correct me if I’m wrong–the multi-genre pen name people do so because it’s hard to write under the same name in multiple genres? So, for example, I’d write my historicals under my real name and my paranormals under a pen name?
The debut novel pen name, though…..I just never considered it. Everywhere I look now, I notice pen names! Everyone has them! Or maybe I’m just more cognoscente of them. Not that it matters, I guess, since I already have my email, my blog, and every social media site on the planet set up with my real name. I’ve got street cred. At least marginal online cred. I mean, you’d be confused if you came to read my latest blog post and it was written by Priscilla von Redmond Hart-Danube, wouldn’t you? And yes, that’s totally going to be my pen name now that I’ve made it up.
Back in my early college days (you know, during the time of the dinosaurs), I worked at the bookstore in the mall. There was another Heather who worked there and, evidently, this was confusing to our staff of approximately five. And evidently referring to us as “Heather H” (me) and “Heather L” (her, but I don’t remember if that was actually her last initial) was also confusing, since they asked us to come up with a nickname to differentiate us. I let her be Heather.
And I was Dixie.
My mother thought this was ridiculous.
I was Dixie for several reasons, including but not limited to:
- There is no shortened version of Heather. Heath is marginal and I refuse to accept Heth.
- My last name wasn’t usable as a first name. Seriously, a name tag with Hambel is weird.
- I wasn’t sure I could actually refer to myself as any other legit name without feeling borderline crazy.
- I’m big into the Civil War and, at the time, it just felt right.
Nobody got the Civil War connection.
But I was Dixie. My name tag read Dixie. My name on the schedule was Dixie. I answered the phone as Dixie. Even after I quit, I would shop at the store and the associates would refer to me as Dixie.
It weirded The Hubs out. He said, “But you’re Heather.”
Yes. I am Heather. I’ve been Heathwad (don’t ask). I’ve been H Squared. I’ve been H. I’ve been Curley. A kid at work calls me “Curls” (weird). But, in the end, after it’s all said and done, I’m Heather.
And I like that.