My secret identity

Solo_spotlight_head_shot       From Loretta
      
      It looks like I’ll be owing a couple of books because two readers asked questions that seemed nicely connected.
      Jaclyne Laurin wrote: 
      <<I’m fascinated with pseudonyms. The why (were you embarrassed to use your real one?), where (did you get the inspiration for your pen name?), how (did it come about?), who (gave you the idea for it?).
      I think that I’d use a pseudonym (or in my case a ‘Nom de plume’) because I’d be worried I wouldn’t be taken seriously as an author, by the people closest to me.  Become published under another name and THEN let it be known that you’re that person who wrote the book…
      For those of you who write under a name different than the you were born with, what’s your reasons?>>

      And RevMelinda asked:
      <<Word Wenches, are you all "celebrities" in your communities?  Is your authorly identity underground?  Can you go about your day/activities freely? or do people whisper and point at you wherever you go? (And depending on your answer, is that fun or not?) >>
      I will not answer in an orderly fashion.  I have never been known to do anything in an orderly fashion.  That includes explaining the writing process–another question I loved, BTW, but there are only so many one can jam into one blog.  And my question is, Does taking on two questions at once make me a Question Hog?
      I started writing fiction and plays in grade school and had a pseudonym then, so perhaps I always assumed I’d have one.  Gemini Either that or the alternate identity was a manifestation of the Gemini personality.
      Some publishers encouraged/required pseudonyms.  Mine didn’t.  But it was an easy choice for me, for several reasons.  (1) I had been doing it since elementary school, (2) I thought that one who wrote Regencies ought to have an Anglicized name, (3) Chase is easier to say, easier to remember than Chekani, (4) I wanted a secret identity, and (5) the author me isn’t the other me–I am not quite myself while writing the books, so it only seems fitting to have a name that is not quite my name–but this may be the same as (1), and reflects a state of affairs I recognized in childhood.
      Having this secret identity makes it very easy for me to move about my community–or any community, actually–unrecognized.  Not being Reese Witherspoon also makes it easy.  The fact is, writers, unlike performers, don’t do their work in public.  It isn’t a daily part of our job to have our pictures in newspapers and magazines.  We toil quietly in our rooms–some of us wishing for that immense library/studio we’ve been fantasizing about since signing the first contract–and tend to be startled if not alarmed if a new acquaintance, upon hearing that we are a published author, shows any signs of viewing us as a celebrity.  A great many of us tend to be introverted types, for whom celebrity has extremely limited appeal.
      I am slightly a celebrity in the public library but only with certain librarians.  A couple of years ago, when I was researching Mr. Impossible, and seeking help from one of the research librarians, another came to my rescue saying, “She doesn’t know who you are, but I know who you are.”  Then she led me down into the secret bowels of the library where the uncatalogued materials were.  Frankly, that’s the only kind of fame I really want:  the level of notoriety that gets me into, not The Restaurant or The Club, but The Secret Places of the Library.
      I would gladly exchange Red Carpet time for time with the crumbly old books and maps no one else is allowed to touch.
      Mask Meanwhile, I walk the supermarket aisles unmolested, visit the art museum unpursued by paparazzi, eat in restaurants without being asked for autographs–except for the credit card slip, on which I write my given name anyway.
      I am pretty sure I can go almost anywhere (except a romance writers conference) and do almost anything (except sign books), certain that my secret identity is secure.  I don’t even have to change clothes in a phone booth–a good thing, since they seem to have become extinct in the U.S.

What about you?  Have you ever wished for a secret identity?  Or would you rather be famous?  How do you feel about pseudonyms?

60 thoughts on “My secret identity”

  1. I love my name…Maggie Robinson. If I’m ever published, I’d be quite near Nora Roberts, snuggling up and basking in her radiance! I’d want to use it if I could.
    I was so happy to get married. My maiden name was Lanman. If you knew how often I had to spell it (L-A-N-as in Nancy-M-as-in-Mary-A-N-as-in-Nancy), you too would be relieved to be unfeminist and take a man’s name. Then I discovered Robinson easily turns into Robertson and Robison. Oh well.
    I find “romance author” names usually sound romantic, i.e., fake, but that’s fine. It must be fun to be a dual personality.
    I think being famous for writing is a far different kind of fame than, say, movie star. I’d never want to subject myself or my family to the crazy lack of privacy…but then, I recall “Misery!”
    In my brief foray around the romance writers’ universe, you writers seem remarkably approachable and willing to share your expertise with readers. This is rare and lovely, but I imagine sometimes you get hassled by people who want you to get them published too. So you must live in layers and protect the deepest (your actual address, for example)for privacy. I respect whatever works for the writer, and I will not be showing up on your doorstep!

    Reply
  2. I love my name…Maggie Robinson. If I’m ever published, I’d be quite near Nora Roberts, snuggling up and basking in her radiance! I’d want to use it if I could.
    I was so happy to get married. My maiden name was Lanman. If you knew how often I had to spell it (L-A-N-as in Nancy-M-as-in-Mary-A-N-as-in-Nancy), you too would be relieved to be unfeminist and take a man’s name. Then I discovered Robinson easily turns into Robertson and Robison. Oh well.
    I find “romance author” names usually sound romantic, i.e., fake, but that’s fine. It must be fun to be a dual personality.
    I think being famous for writing is a far different kind of fame than, say, movie star. I’d never want to subject myself or my family to the crazy lack of privacy…but then, I recall “Misery!”
    In my brief foray around the romance writers’ universe, you writers seem remarkably approachable and willing to share your expertise with readers. This is rare and lovely, but I imagine sometimes you get hassled by people who want you to get them published too. So you must live in layers and protect the deepest (your actual address, for example)for privacy. I respect whatever works for the writer, and I will not be showing up on your doorstep!

    Reply
  3. I love my name…Maggie Robinson. If I’m ever published, I’d be quite near Nora Roberts, snuggling up and basking in her radiance! I’d want to use it if I could.
    I was so happy to get married. My maiden name was Lanman. If you knew how often I had to spell it (L-A-N-as in Nancy-M-as-in-Mary-A-N-as-in-Nancy), you too would be relieved to be unfeminist and take a man’s name. Then I discovered Robinson easily turns into Robertson and Robison. Oh well.
    I find “romance author” names usually sound romantic, i.e., fake, but that’s fine. It must be fun to be a dual personality.
    I think being famous for writing is a far different kind of fame than, say, movie star. I’d never want to subject myself or my family to the crazy lack of privacy…but then, I recall “Misery!”
    In my brief foray around the romance writers’ universe, you writers seem remarkably approachable and willing to share your expertise with readers. This is rare and lovely, but I imagine sometimes you get hassled by people who want you to get them published too. So you must live in layers and protect the deepest (your actual address, for example)for privacy. I respect whatever works for the writer, and I will not be showing up on your doorstep!

    Reply
  4. I love my name…Maggie Robinson. If I’m ever published, I’d be quite near Nora Roberts, snuggling up and basking in her radiance! I’d want to use it if I could.
    I was so happy to get married. My maiden name was Lanman. If you knew how often I had to spell it (L-A-N-as in Nancy-M-as-in-Mary-A-N-as-in-Nancy), you too would be relieved to be unfeminist and take a man’s name. Then I discovered Robinson easily turns into Robertson and Robison. Oh well.
    I find “romance author” names usually sound romantic, i.e., fake, but that’s fine. It must be fun to be a dual personality.
    I think being famous for writing is a far different kind of fame than, say, movie star. I’d never want to subject myself or my family to the crazy lack of privacy…but then, I recall “Misery!”
    In my brief foray around the romance writers’ universe, you writers seem remarkably approachable and willing to share your expertise with readers. This is rare and lovely, but I imagine sometimes you get hassled by people who want you to get them published too. So you must live in layers and protect the deepest (your actual address, for example)for privacy. I respect whatever works for the writer, and I will not be showing up on your doorstep!

    Reply
  5. Other than when I was young and thought that ‘Kathy’ was too boring, too common [which it was, and still is, but no longer a problem as I LIKE my name] I’ve never thought about changing it or being someone else; although, like Maggie, I was happy to change my last name upon marriage ~ but that’s a different story. *grin*
    Over the years, though, I’ve discovered that reading, in a way, does it for me. I can escape into someone else’s life and experiences for a time; it’s my opportunity to have excitement, live a new life, while in the safety and comfort of my own, safe and comfortable world: I like boring!

    Reply
  6. Other than when I was young and thought that ‘Kathy’ was too boring, too common [which it was, and still is, but no longer a problem as I LIKE my name] I’ve never thought about changing it or being someone else; although, like Maggie, I was happy to change my last name upon marriage ~ but that’s a different story. *grin*
    Over the years, though, I’ve discovered that reading, in a way, does it for me. I can escape into someone else’s life and experiences for a time; it’s my opportunity to have excitement, live a new life, while in the safety and comfort of my own, safe and comfortable world: I like boring!

    Reply
  7. Other than when I was young and thought that ‘Kathy’ was too boring, too common [which it was, and still is, but no longer a problem as I LIKE my name] I’ve never thought about changing it or being someone else; although, like Maggie, I was happy to change my last name upon marriage ~ but that’s a different story. *grin*
    Over the years, though, I’ve discovered that reading, in a way, does it for me. I can escape into someone else’s life and experiences for a time; it’s my opportunity to have excitement, live a new life, while in the safety and comfort of my own, safe and comfortable world: I like boring!

    Reply
  8. Other than when I was young and thought that ‘Kathy’ was too boring, too common [which it was, and still is, but no longer a problem as I LIKE my name] I’ve never thought about changing it or being someone else; although, like Maggie, I was happy to change my last name upon marriage ~ but that’s a different story. *grin*
    Over the years, though, I’ve discovered that reading, in a way, does it for me. I can escape into someone else’s life and experiences for a time; it’s my opportunity to have excitement, live a new life, while in the safety and comfort of my own, safe and comfortable world: I like boring!

    Reply
  9. Loretta, I -wanted- to use a pseudonym so I could live in safe anonymity, but my agent and editor talked me out of it. The practical and legal advantages were convincing. But I still occasionally yearn to invisibly someone else.
    OTOH, I once knew a Regency reader who said that she wouldn’t read a book by Barbara Hazard because it was such an obviously fake name. Except–it isn’t it. 🙂 I assured her the name was real, and she was missing some fine books.
    Mary Jo, who has done her share of name spelling (“Mary Jo, two words, no ‘e’ on the ‘Jo.'”)

    Reply
  10. Loretta, I -wanted- to use a pseudonym so I could live in safe anonymity, but my agent and editor talked me out of it. The practical and legal advantages were convincing. But I still occasionally yearn to invisibly someone else.
    OTOH, I once knew a Regency reader who said that she wouldn’t read a book by Barbara Hazard because it was such an obviously fake name. Except–it isn’t it. 🙂 I assured her the name was real, and she was missing some fine books.
    Mary Jo, who has done her share of name spelling (“Mary Jo, two words, no ‘e’ on the ‘Jo.'”)

    Reply
  11. Loretta, I -wanted- to use a pseudonym so I could live in safe anonymity, but my agent and editor talked me out of it. The practical and legal advantages were convincing. But I still occasionally yearn to invisibly someone else.
    OTOH, I once knew a Regency reader who said that she wouldn’t read a book by Barbara Hazard because it was such an obviously fake name. Except–it isn’t it. 🙂 I assured her the name was real, and she was missing some fine books.
    Mary Jo, who has done her share of name spelling (“Mary Jo, two words, no ‘e’ on the ‘Jo.'”)

    Reply
  12. Loretta, I -wanted- to use a pseudonym so I could live in safe anonymity, but my agent and editor talked me out of it. The practical and legal advantages were convincing. But I still occasionally yearn to invisibly someone else.
    OTOH, I once knew a Regency reader who said that she wouldn’t read a book by Barbara Hazard because it was such an obviously fake name. Except–it isn’t it. 🙂 I assured her the name was real, and she was missing some fine books.
    Mary Jo, who has done her share of name spelling (“Mary Jo, two words, no ‘e’ on the ‘Jo.'”)

    Reply
  13. As usual, I like it both ways.
    Celebrity (such as it is) and anonymity (which I guard fiercely).
    The name on my novels has morphed into a pseudonym which is only ever used in the context of being an author.
    In my everyday life I use a different version, which somehow has turned into my secret identity.

    Reply
  14. As usual, I like it both ways.
    Celebrity (such as it is) and anonymity (which I guard fiercely).
    The name on my novels has morphed into a pseudonym which is only ever used in the context of being an author.
    In my everyday life I use a different version, which somehow has turned into my secret identity.

    Reply
  15. As usual, I like it both ways.
    Celebrity (such as it is) and anonymity (which I guard fiercely).
    The name on my novels has morphed into a pseudonym which is only ever used in the context of being an author.
    In my everyday life I use a different version, which somehow has turned into my secret identity.

    Reply
  16. As usual, I like it both ways.
    Celebrity (such as it is) and anonymity (which I guard fiercely).
    The name on my novels has morphed into a pseudonym which is only ever used in the context of being an author.
    In my everyday life I use a different version, which somehow has turned into my secret identity.

    Reply
  17. Thanks so much Loretta for answering my question, I’m happy to know that your grocery shopping is paparazzi free!!!
    I live in a very popular & sought-after vacationing area. Lots of actors summer in my part of the province. Although I’ve never seen Goldie Hawn or Kurt Russel at the restaurant; or encountered Martin Short on the sidewalk, I know they’re around town, because people talk about their sightings…
    If I ever have the occasion of seeing anybody “famous”, I’d like to think I’d react like I do meeting other total strangers on the sidewalk, just nod, say ‘Hi’ and continue walking!
    It must be very hard to give up your anonymity, your privacy and feel trapped in that persona of the ‘celebrity’, the ‘star’ or the ‘best selling author’ and have the freedom to just be YOU.
    In response to Maggie’s comment on having to spell her last name, I get that all the time, except I have to spell both my first and last names as I’m a French-Canadian living in a predominantly english town. They not only spell my name wrong, they can’t pronounce it!!!

    Reply
  18. Thanks so much Loretta for answering my question, I’m happy to know that your grocery shopping is paparazzi free!!!
    I live in a very popular & sought-after vacationing area. Lots of actors summer in my part of the province. Although I’ve never seen Goldie Hawn or Kurt Russel at the restaurant; or encountered Martin Short on the sidewalk, I know they’re around town, because people talk about their sightings…
    If I ever have the occasion of seeing anybody “famous”, I’d like to think I’d react like I do meeting other total strangers on the sidewalk, just nod, say ‘Hi’ and continue walking!
    It must be very hard to give up your anonymity, your privacy and feel trapped in that persona of the ‘celebrity’, the ‘star’ or the ‘best selling author’ and have the freedom to just be YOU.
    In response to Maggie’s comment on having to spell her last name, I get that all the time, except I have to spell both my first and last names as I’m a French-Canadian living in a predominantly english town. They not only spell my name wrong, they can’t pronounce it!!!

    Reply
  19. Thanks so much Loretta for answering my question, I’m happy to know that your grocery shopping is paparazzi free!!!
    I live in a very popular & sought-after vacationing area. Lots of actors summer in my part of the province. Although I’ve never seen Goldie Hawn or Kurt Russel at the restaurant; or encountered Martin Short on the sidewalk, I know they’re around town, because people talk about their sightings…
    If I ever have the occasion of seeing anybody “famous”, I’d like to think I’d react like I do meeting other total strangers on the sidewalk, just nod, say ‘Hi’ and continue walking!
    It must be very hard to give up your anonymity, your privacy and feel trapped in that persona of the ‘celebrity’, the ‘star’ or the ‘best selling author’ and have the freedom to just be YOU.
    In response to Maggie’s comment on having to spell her last name, I get that all the time, except I have to spell both my first and last names as I’m a French-Canadian living in a predominantly english town. They not only spell my name wrong, they can’t pronounce it!!!

    Reply
  20. Thanks so much Loretta for answering my question, I’m happy to know that your grocery shopping is paparazzi free!!!
    I live in a very popular & sought-after vacationing area. Lots of actors summer in my part of the province. Although I’ve never seen Goldie Hawn or Kurt Russel at the restaurant; or encountered Martin Short on the sidewalk, I know they’re around town, because people talk about their sightings…
    If I ever have the occasion of seeing anybody “famous”, I’d like to think I’d react like I do meeting other total strangers on the sidewalk, just nod, say ‘Hi’ and continue walking!
    It must be very hard to give up your anonymity, your privacy and feel trapped in that persona of the ‘celebrity’, the ‘star’ or the ‘best selling author’ and have the freedom to just be YOU.
    In response to Maggie’s comment on having to spell her last name, I get that all the time, except I have to spell both my first and last names as I’m a French-Canadian living in a predominantly english town. They not only spell my name wrong, they can’t pronounce it!!!

    Reply
  21. Being “famous” enough to be taken into the inner-sanctum of a library sounds like all the special attention I’d ever need–and crave!
    How wonderful.
    Today my PC died. I thought that sorta thing only happened to other people who really weren’t as in-tune with their machine as I am.
    My husband attempted to salvage it, but the hard-drive gave up the ghost. He took my mother-board, which was better than his, and transplanted it in his laptop. Now I’m not so certain of his diagnosis.
    The good news is that I had my mss saved and I bought a new computer–a Mac–and am loving it, so far.
    Lost all my bookmarks though, but I added back Word Wenches first. Yeah!

    Reply
  22. Being “famous” enough to be taken into the inner-sanctum of a library sounds like all the special attention I’d ever need–and crave!
    How wonderful.
    Today my PC died. I thought that sorta thing only happened to other people who really weren’t as in-tune with their machine as I am.
    My husband attempted to salvage it, but the hard-drive gave up the ghost. He took my mother-board, which was better than his, and transplanted it in his laptop. Now I’m not so certain of his diagnosis.
    The good news is that I had my mss saved and I bought a new computer–a Mac–and am loving it, so far.
    Lost all my bookmarks though, but I added back Word Wenches first. Yeah!

    Reply
  23. Being “famous” enough to be taken into the inner-sanctum of a library sounds like all the special attention I’d ever need–and crave!
    How wonderful.
    Today my PC died. I thought that sorta thing only happened to other people who really weren’t as in-tune with their machine as I am.
    My husband attempted to salvage it, but the hard-drive gave up the ghost. He took my mother-board, which was better than his, and transplanted it in his laptop. Now I’m not so certain of his diagnosis.
    The good news is that I had my mss saved and I bought a new computer–a Mac–and am loving it, so far.
    Lost all my bookmarks though, but I added back Word Wenches first. Yeah!

    Reply
  24. Being “famous” enough to be taken into the inner-sanctum of a library sounds like all the special attention I’d ever need–and crave!
    How wonderful.
    Today my PC died. I thought that sorta thing only happened to other people who really weren’t as in-tune with their machine as I am.
    My husband attempted to salvage it, but the hard-drive gave up the ghost. He took my mother-board, which was better than his, and transplanted it in his laptop. Now I’m not so certain of his diagnosis.
    The good news is that I had my mss saved and I bought a new computer–a Mac–and am loving it, so far.
    Lost all my bookmarks though, but I added back Word Wenches first. Yeah!

    Reply
  25. Fame is so often an accicent of circumstances. I pay no attention to it and don’t feel that a “famous” person is interesting because they are famous. When I was in college (I live in Orlando), I worked in a gift shop in a large hotel. I had a lot of conversations with some famous people because I treated them like everyone else. Most of them were very nice.
    Fame is like ripples in the water after a rock is thrown in. Everyone is known for doing something well, and it’s the scope that makes us famous on a large scale.
    People are people, and if the author writes an interesting story, I don’t care what the name is on the cover. Except that if you change it, I might not know who you are when I next buy books.

    Reply
  26. Fame is so often an accicent of circumstances. I pay no attention to it and don’t feel that a “famous” person is interesting because they are famous. When I was in college (I live in Orlando), I worked in a gift shop in a large hotel. I had a lot of conversations with some famous people because I treated them like everyone else. Most of them were very nice.
    Fame is like ripples in the water after a rock is thrown in. Everyone is known for doing something well, and it’s the scope that makes us famous on a large scale.
    People are people, and if the author writes an interesting story, I don’t care what the name is on the cover. Except that if you change it, I might not know who you are when I next buy books.

    Reply
  27. Fame is so often an accicent of circumstances. I pay no attention to it and don’t feel that a “famous” person is interesting because they are famous. When I was in college (I live in Orlando), I worked in a gift shop in a large hotel. I had a lot of conversations with some famous people because I treated them like everyone else. Most of them were very nice.
    Fame is like ripples in the water after a rock is thrown in. Everyone is known for doing something well, and it’s the scope that makes us famous on a large scale.
    People are people, and if the author writes an interesting story, I don’t care what the name is on the cover. Except that if you change it, I might not know who you are when I next buy books.

    Reply
  28. Fame is so often an accicent of circumstances. I pay no attention to it and don’t feel that a “famous” person is interesting because they are famous. When I was in college (I live in Orlando), I worked in a gift shop in a large hotel. I had a lot of conversations with some famous people because I treated them like everyone else. Most of them were very nice.
    Fame is like ripples in the water after a rock is thrown in. Everyone is known for doing something well, and it’s the scope that makes us famous on a large scale.
    People are people, and if the author writes an interesting story, I don’t care what the name is on the cover. Except that if you change it, I might not know who you are when I next buy books.

    Reply
  29. Jaclyne wrote: “I’d like to think I’d react like I do meeting other total strangers on the sidewalk, just nod, say ‘Hi’ and continue walking!”
    This made me gasp! I know what you are saying, of course, but the idea of acknowledging the existence of a ‘total stranger’ in any way whatever, except in some emergency, is so foreign to a Londoner that it really jumped out at me. One of the ways in which pickpockets spot tourists to target in London is that they look for the people who make eye-contact with passers-by!
    I suppose this is why some visitors think Londoners are ‘unfriendly’. Actually, we are kind and helpful when there is a need for it; but in our painfully overcrowded streets and trains and buses, we protect ourselves by existing in a little psychological capsule, detached from all the people around us.
    I have always felt very much at home in New York City; the social rules seem to be quite similar there.
    🙂

    Reply
  30. Jaclyne wrote: “I’d like to think I’d react like I do meeting other total strangers on the sidewalk, just nod, say ‘Hi’ and continue walking!”
    This made me gasp! I know what you are saying, of course, but the idea of acknowledging the existence of a ‘total stranger’ in any way whatever, except in some emergency, is so foreign to a Londoner that it really jumped out at me. One of the ways in which pickpockets spot tourists to target in London is that they look for the people who make eye-contact with passers-by!
    I suppose this is why some visitors think Londoners are ‘unfriendly’. Actually, we are kind and helpful when there is a need for it; but in our painfully overcrowded streets and trains and buses, we protect ourselves by existing in a little psychological capsule, detached from all the people around us.
    I have always felt very much at home in New York City; the social rules seem to be quite similar there.
    🙂

    Reply
  31. Jaclyne wrote: “I’d like to think I’d react like I do meeting other total strangers on the sidewalk, just nod, say ‘Hi’ and continue walking!”
    This made me gasp! I know what you are saying, of course, but the idea of acknowledging the existence of a ‘total stranger’ in any way whatever, except in some emergency, is so foreign to a Londoner that it really jumped out at me. One of the ways in which pickpockets spot tourists to target in London is that they look for the people who make eye-contact with passers-by!
    I suppose this is why some visitors think Londoners are ‘unfriendly’. Actually, we are kind and helpful when there is a need for it; but in our painfully overcrowded streets and trains and buses, we protect ourselves by existing in a little psychological capsule, detached from all the people around us.
    I have always felt very much at home in New York City; the social rules seem to be quite similar there.
    🙂

    Reply
  32. Jaclyne wrote: “I’d like to think I’d react like I do meeting other total strangers on the sidewalk, just nod, say ‘Hi’ and continue walking!”
    This made me gasp! I know what you are saying, of course, but the idea of acknowledging the existence of a ‘total stranger’ in any way whatever, except in some emergency, is so foreign to a Londoner that it really jumped out at me. One of the ways in which pickpockets spot tourists to target in London is that they look for the people who make eye-contact with passers-by!
    I suppose this is why some visitors think Londoners are ‘unfriendly’. Actually, we are kind and helpful when there is a need for it; but in our painfully overcrowded streets and trains and buses, we protect ourselves by existing in a little psychological capsule, detached from all the people around us.
    I have always felt very much at home in New York City; the social rules seem to be quite similar there.
    🙂

    Reply
  33. I like the idea of different names for different sorts of books, as some of the Wenches have done. I think I would really dislike being known by more than one first name. It’s confusing enough when people call me Bev.*G*
    People often ask romance writers if we use our own name, and are surprised when we say yes. Such a shameful occupation!
    I’ve used my own name all along and managed anonymity anyway. Local media in Canada rarely shine a spotlight on genre writers, and when they do it seems to go right past most people. I remember once when a news hook meant I and a couple of other authors were on every form of media in Ottawa over a two week period. I felt the world must be sick of seeing and hearing us. Not a person, even people in local shops etc, mentioned it. No one has ever taken down my name in a shop and gasped, “Not… THE Jo Beverley!”
    I like it this way. Perhaps we really do get what we wish for.
    Mind you, on a few occasions at bookish events I’ve been pointed out to fans, who then approach me warily. “Are you REALLY Jo Beverley?” Now it could be that I don’t look enough like my photos, though I don’t try for glamor shots, but it seems to be, “Are you truly a real, live, author-who-I-love-to- read, here in my ordinary life?
    Which is pleasant, as long as they don’t faint, which one woman almost did. But it was very hot and crowded.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  34. I like the idea of different names for different sorts of books, as some of the Wenches have done. I think I would really dislike being known by more than one first name. It’s confusing enough when people call me Bev.*G*
    People often ask romance writers if we use our own name, and are surprised when we say yes. Such a shameful occupation!
    I’ve used my own name all along and managed anonymity anyway. Local media in Canada rarely shine a spotlight on genre writers, and when they do it seems to go right past most people. I remember once when a news hook meant I and a couple of other authors were on every form of media in Ottawa over a two week period. I felt the world must be sick of seeing and hearing us. Not a person, even people in local shops etc, mentioned it. No one has ever taken down my name in a shop and gasped, “Not… THE Jo Beverley!”
    I like it this way. Perhaps we really do get what we wish for.
    Mind you, on a few occasions at bookish events I’ve been pointed out to fans, who then approach me warily. “Are you REALLY Jo Beverley?” Now it could be that I don’t look enough like my photos, though I don’t try for glamor shots, but it seems to be, “Are you truly a real, live, author-who-I-love-to- read, here in my ordinary life?
    Which is pleasant, as long as they don’t faint, which one woman almost did. But it was very hot and crowded.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  35. I like the idea of different names for different sorts of books, as some of the Wenches have done. I think I would really dislike being known by more than one first name. It’s confusing enough when people call me Bev.*G*
    People often ask romance writers if we use our own name, and are surprised when we say yes. Such a shameful occupation!
    I’ve used my own name all along and managed anonymity anyway. Local media in Canada rarely shine a spotlight on genre writers, and when they do it seems to go right past most people. I remember once when a news hook meant I and a couple of other authors were on every form of media in Ottawa over a two week period. I felt the world must be sick of seeing and hearing us. Not a person, even people in local shops etc, mentioned it. No one has ever taken down my name in a shop and gasped, “Not… THE Jo Beverley!”
    I like it this way. Perhaps we really do get what we wish for.
    Mind you, on a few occasions at bookish events I’ve been pointed out to fans, who then approach me warily. “Are you REALLY Jo Beverley?” Now it could be that I don’t look enough like my photos, though I don’t try for glamor shots, but it seems to be, “Are you truly a real, live, author-who-I-love-to- read, here in my ordinary life?
    Which is pleasant, as long as they don’t faint, which one woman almost did. But it was very hot and crowded.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  36. I like the idea of different names for different sorts of books, as some of the Wenches have done. I think I would really dislike being known by more than one first name. It’s confusing enough when people call me Bev.*G*
    People often ask romance writers if we use our own name, and are surprised when we say yes. Such a shameful occupation!
    I’ve used my own name all along and managed anonymity anyway. Local media in Canada rarely shine a spotlight on genre writers, and when they do it seems to go right past most people. I remember once when a news hook meant I and a couple of other authors were on every form of media in Ottawa over a two week period. I felt the world must be sick of seeing and hearing us. Not a person, even people in local shops etc, mentioned it. No one has ever taken down my name in a shop and gasped, “Not… THE Jo Beverley!”
    I like it this way. Perhaps we really do get what we wish for.
    Mind you, on a few occasions at bookish events I’ve been pointed out to fans, who then approach me warily. “Are you REALLY Jo Beverley?” Now it could be that I don’t look enough like my photos, though I don’t try for glamor shots, but it seems to be, “Are you truly a real, live, author-who-I-love-to- read, here in my ordinary life?
    Which is pleasant, as long as they don’t faint, which one woman almost did. But it was very hot and crowded.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  37. Neat question!
    I am as anonymous as the fellow who sang “Mr. Cellophane” in the musical “Chicago.”
    My pseudonym- Edith Layton – was requested by my first publisher. They thought “Edith Felber” was too ethnic.
    “Ethnic”? I’d never heard it before I met my husband and I didn’t know what the heck it was. (German)
    Still, what’s in a name?
    So if I had to change, I wanted it to be “Edith Leighton.” But they thought that was too puritanical! A “Y” they thought, would make it happier.
    I am utterly anonymous as Edith Layton.
    I just pubbed my first book as Edith Felber, and I still am!
    Except, my son Adam Felber, is sorta famous for his gig on NPR’s “WAIT, WAIT, DON’T TELL Me” and for his first novel, and his blog.
    And my daughter Susie Felber, is a writer and comedian, and online with her blog too.
    But even then, folks tell me that they just don’t make the connection.
    You – or rather – I, can’t win.

    Reply
  38. Neat question!
    I am as anonymous as the fellow who sang “Mr. Cellophane” in the musical “Chicago.”
    My pseudonym- Edith Layton – was requested by my first publisher. They thought “Edith Felber” was too ethnic.
    “Ethnic”? I’d never heard it before I met my husband and I didn’t know what the heck it was. (German)
    Still, what’s in a name?
    So if I had to change, I wanted it to be “Edith Leighton.” But they thought that was too puritanical! A “Y” they thought, would make it happier.
    I am utterly anonymous as Edith Layton.
    I just pubbed my first book as Edith Felber, and I still am!
    Except, my son Adam Felber, is sorta famous for his gig on NPR’s “WAIT, WAIT, DON’T TELL Me” and for his first novel, and his blog.
    And my daughter Susie Felber, is a writer and comedian, and online with her blog too.
    But even then, folks tell me that they just don’t make the connection.
    You – or rather – I, can’t win.

    Reply
  39. Neat question!
    I am as anonymous as the fellow who sang “Mr. Cellophane” in the musical “Chicago.”
    My pseudonym- Edith Layton – was requested by my first publisher. They thought “Edith Felber” was too ethnic.
    “Ethnic”? I’d never heard it before I met my husband and I didn’t know what the heck it was. (German)
    Still, what’s in a name?
    So if I had to change, I wanted it to be “Edith Leighton.” But they thought that was too puritanical! A “Y” they thought, would make it happier.
    I am utterly anonymous as Edith Layton.
    I just pubbed my first book as Edith Felber, and I still am!
    Except, my son Adam Felber, is sorta famous for his gig on NPR’s “WAIT, WAIT, DON’T TELL Me” and for his first novel, and his blog.
    And my daughter Susie Felber, is a writer and comedian, and online with her blog too.
    But even then, folks tell me that they just don’t make the connection.
    You – or rather – I, can’t win.

    Reply
  40. Neat question!
    I am as anonymous as the fellow who sang “Mr. Cellophane” in the musical “Chicago.”
    My pseudonym- Edith Layton – was requested by my first publisher. They thought “Edith Felber” was too ethnic.
    “Ethnic”? I’d never heard it before I met my husband and I didn’t know what the heck it was. (German)
    Still, what’s in a name?
    So if I had to change, I wanted it to be “Edith Leighton.” But they thought that was too puritanical! A “Y” they thought, would make it happier.
    I am utterly anonymous as Edith Layton.
    I just pubbed my first book as Edith Felber, and I still am!
    Except, my son Adam Felber, is sorta famous for his gig on NPR’s “WAIT, WAIT, DON’T TELL Me” and for his first novel, and his blog.
    And my daughter Susie Felber, is a writer and comedian, and online with her blog too.
    But even then, folks tell me that they just don’t make the connection.
    You – or rather – I, can’t win.

    Reply
  41. I am late commenting on comments because I spent yesterday in NYC–where I made eye contact with nobody–and today doing the usual Sunday catch-up.
    Maggie, you do have a great author name, and your notion of authors living in layers covers the situation very nicely. Kathy, I like my safe and comfortable world, too, which explains why I chose writing rather than one of the performance arts. And in my book, giving a talk or workshop is a performance art. Mary Jo, you have to wonder, don’t you, what kind of person decides not to read a book because an author’s name sounds fake. That is one of the stranger stories I’ve heard. Meanwhile, I wonder what pseudonym you would have used if you could have used one. Margaret, your secret is safe with me, since I don’t know you by any other name. Jaclyne–first, my humblest apologies for spelling your name wrong. As the other Wenches will tell you, I’ve been somewhat brain damaged the last couple of days. I’ll fix it ASAP–not my brain, your name. Re saying Hi, I’m with AgTigress. Maybe it’s the part of the U.S. in which I grew up, or growing up in a small city, but I, too, simply cannot say Hi to strangers (in public places, that is, not social events where you are supposed to “mingle”) except in the special circumstances where etiquette seems to require it–as when one is exercise walking and encounters other exercise walkers. Even then, I tend to forget because I’m busy not making eye contact. *g* Cathy, thank you for restoring the Wenches first. Val, I once had a job where I occasionally encountered famous people, but being shy anyway, let them make the first conversational gambits. AgTigress–good analogy with NYC–and yes, I think one does need to make a safe psychological space for oneself in environments like these. Jo, I think you’re right about the surprise and thrill of meeting the real person–rather than seeing her/him as a celebrity. I’ve felt that way many times upon meeting an author whose work I admire. Edith, I can’t believe they thought “Leighton” was too puritanical! I still remember the excitement Jo describes, of meeting you actually live and in person. But that is the nice, comfortable fame, isn’t it, of those who write books meeting those who love them?

    Reply
  42. I am late commenting on comments because I spent yesterday in NYC–where I made eye contact with nobody–and today doing the usual Sunday catch-up.
    Maggie, you do have a great author name, and your notion of authors living in layers covers the situation very nicely. Kathy, I like my safe and comfortable world, too, which explains why I chose writing rather than one of the performance arts. And in my book, giving a talk or workshop is a performance art. Mary Jo, you have to wonder, don’t you, what kind of person decides not to read a book because an author’s name sounds fake. That is one of the stranger stories I’ve heard. Meanwhile, I wonder what pseudonym you would have used if you could have used one. Margaret, your secret is safe with me, since I don’t know you by any other name. Jaclyne–first, my humblest apologies for spelling your name wrong. As the other Wenches will tell you, I’ve been somewhat brain damaged the last couple of days. I’ll fix it ASAP–not my brain, your name. Re saying Hi, I’m with AgTigress. Maybe it’s the part of the U.S. in which I grew up, or growing up in a small city, but I, too, simply cannot say Hi to strangers (in public places, that is, not social events where you are supposed to “mingle”) except in the special circumstances where etiquette seems to require it–as when one is exercise walking and encounters other exercise walkers. Even then, I tend to forget because I’m busy not making eye contact. *g* Cathy, thank you for restoring the Wenches first. Val, I once had a job where I occasionally encountered famous people, but being shy anyway, let them make the first conversational gambits. AgTigress–good analogy with NYC–and yes, I think one does need to make a safe psychological space for oneself in environments like these. Jo, I think you’re right about the surprise and thrill of meeting the real person–rather than seeing her/him as a celebrity. I’ve felt that way many times upon meeting an author whose work I admire. Edith, I can’t believe they thought “Leighton” was too puritanical! I still remember the excitement Jo describes, of meeting you actually live and in person. But that is the nice, comfortable fame, isn’t it, of those who write books meeting those who love them?

    Reply
  43. I am late commenting on comments because I spent yesterday in NYC–where I made eye contact with nobody–and today doing the usual Sunday catch-up.
    Maggie, you do have a great author name, and your notion of authors living in layers covers the situation very nicely. Kathy, I like my safe and comfortable world, too, which explains why I chose writing rather than one of the performance arts. And in my book, giving a talk or workshop is a performance art. Mary Jo, you have to wonder, don’t you, what kind of person decides not to read a book because an author’s name sounds fake. That is one of the stranger stories I’ve heard. Meanwhile, I wonder what pseudonym you would have used if you could have used one. Margaret, your secret is safe with me, since I don’t know you by any other name. Jaclyne–first, my humblest apologies for spelling your name wrong. As the other Wenches will tell you, I’ve been somewhat brain damaged the last couple of days. I’ll fix it ASAP–not my brain, your name. Re saying Hi, I’m with AgTigress. Maybe it’s the part of the U.S. in which I grew up, or growing up in a small city, but I, too, simply cannot say Hi to strangers (in public places, that is, not social events where you are supposed to “mingle”) except in the special circumstances where etiquette seems to require it–as when one is exercise walking and encounters other exercise walkers. Even then, I tend to forget because I’m busy not making eye contact. *g* Cathy, thank you for restoring the Wenches first. Val, I once had a job where I occasionally encountered famous people, but being shy anyway, let them make the first conversational gambits. AgTigress–good analogy with NYC–and yes, I think one does need to make a safe psychological space for oneself in environments like these. Jo, I think you’re right about the surprise and thrill of meeting the real person–rather than seeing her/him as a celebrity. I’ve felt that way many times upon meeting an author whose work I admire. Edith, I can’t believe they thought “Leighton” was too puritanical! I still remember the excitement Jo describes, of meeting you actually live and in person. But that is the nice, comfortable fame, isn’t it, of those who write books meeting those who love them?

    Reply
  44. I am late commenting on comments because I spent yesterday in NYC–where I made eye contact with nobody–and today doing the usual Sunday catch-up.
    Maggie, you do have a great author name, and your notion of authors living in layers covers the situation very nicely. Kathy, I like my safe and comfortable world, too, which explains why I chose writing rather than one of the performance arts. And in my book, giving a talk or workshop is a performance art. Mary Jo, you have to wonder, don’t you, what kind of person decides not to read a book because an author’s name sounds fake. That is one of the stranger stories I’ve heard. Meanwhile, I wonder what pseudonym you would have used if you could have used one. Margaret, your secret is safe with me, since I don’t know you by any other name. Jaclyne–first, my humblest apologies for spelling your name wrong. As the other Wenches will tell you, I’ve been somewhat brain damaged the last couple of days. I’ll fix it ASAP–not my brain, your name. Re saying Hi, I’m with AgTigress. Maybe it’s the part of the U.S. in which I grew up, or growing up in a small city, but I, too, simply cannot say Hi to strangers (in public places, that is, not social events where you are supposed to “mingle”) except in the special circumstances where etiquette seems to require it–as when one is exercise walking and encounters other exercise walkers. Even then, I tend to forget because I’m busy not making eye contact. *g* Cathy, thank you for restoring the Wenches first. Val, I once had a job where I occasionally encountered famous people, but being shy anyway, let them make the first conversational gambits. AgTigress–good analogy with NYC–and yes, I think one does need to make a safe psychological space for oneself in environments like these. Jo, I think you’re right about the surprise and thrill of meeting the real person–rather than seeing her/him as a celebrity. I’ve felt that way many times upon meeting an author whose work I admire. Edith, I can’t believe they thought “Leighton” was too puritanical! I still remember the excitement Jo describes, of meeting you actually live and in person. But that is the nice, comfortable fame, isn’t it, of those who write books meeting those who love them?

    Reply
  45. For those of you who can’t comprehend saying ‘hi’ to total strangers on the sidewalk, you have to understand that I live in a very small town in central Ontario (pop. 12 500). When I was in my early twenties and had to take public transport and negociate busy sidewalks to get to work in downtown Montréal, I have to say that I DID NOT acknowledge strangers. I kept my eyes to myself and usually carried around a book or magasine to avoid having to look around at people.
    But the fact is that in my small town, which I’ve been part of for 14 years, I’ve come to feel safe and comfortable in my surroundings. People are very friendly and will say ‘Hi’ back!

    Reply
  46. For those of you who can’t comprehend saying ‘hi’ to total strangers on the sidewalk, you have to understand that I live in a very small town in central Ontario (pop. 12 500). When I was in my early twenties and had to take public transport and negociate busy sidewalks to get to work in downtown Montréal, I have to say that I DID NOT acknowledge strangers. I kept my eyes to myself and usually carried around a book or magasine to avoid having to look around at people.
    But the fact is that in my small town, which I’ve been part of for 14 years, I’ve come to feel safe and comfortable in my surroundings. People are very friendly and will say ‘Hi’ back!

    Reply
  47. For those of you who can’t comprehend saying ‘hi’ to total strangers on the sidewalk, you have to understand that I live in a very small town in central Ontario (pop. 12 500). When I was in my early twenties and had to take public transport and negociate busy sidewalks to get to work in downtown Montréal, I have to say that I DID NOT acknowledge strangers. I kept my eyes to myself and usually carried around a book or magasine to avoid having to look around at people.
    But the fact is that in my small town, which I’ve been part of for 14 years, I’ve come to feel safe and comfortable in my surroundings. People are very friendly and will say ‘Hi’ back!

    Reply
  48. For those of you who can’t comprehend saying ‘hi’ to total strangers on the sidewalk, you have to understand that I live in a very small town in central Ontario (pop. 12 500). When I was in my early twenties and had to take public transport and negociate busy sidewalks to get to work in downtown Montréal, I have to say that I DID NOT acknowledge strangers. I kept my eyes to myself and usually carried around a book or magasine to avoid having to look around at people.
    But the fact is that in my small town, which I’ve been part of for 14 years, I’ve come to feel safe and comfortable in my surroundings. People are very friendly and will say ‘Hi’ back!

    Reply
  49. From Sherrie:
    Hmph. I guess I’m weird. *g* I’m a naturally friendly person. I smile at strangers, say “good morning” if I get on elevator and there’s someone already in it, and I’m polite to clerks at the cash register. I once attended a “how not to get mugged” seminar and the speaker said to make eye contact and nod or say hello. He said muggers generally won’t mug someone who might be able to identify them. Go figure!
    When I became single again, I went back to my maiden name, and that’s the name I use as a writer. I’ll never forget how pleased my mother was when she found out I was going to use my maiden name as an author. She was so proud I used the “family name.” It meant a lot to her, and it made me glad I’d decided to do so, because it gave her so much pleasure. (“My daughter, the writer.”) But then she used to say “hi” to strangers, too. *g*

    Reply
  50. From Sherrie:
    Hmph. I guess I’m weird. *g* I’m a naturally friendly person. I smile at strangers, say “good morning” if I get on elevator and there’s someone already in it, and I’m polite to clerks at the cash register. I once attended a “how not to get mugged” seminar and the speaker said to make eye contact and nod or say hello. He said muggers generally won’t mug someone who might be able to identify them. Go figure!
    When I became single again, I went back to my maiden name, and that’s the name I use as a writer. I’ll never forget how pleased my mother was when she found out I was going to use my maiden name as an author. She was so proud I used the “family name.” It meant a lot to her, and it made me glad I’d decided to do so, because it gave her so much pleasure. (“My daughter, the writer.”) But then she used to say “hi” to strangers, too. *g*

    Reply
  51. From Sherrie:
    Hmph. I guess I’m weird. *g* I’m a naturally friendly person. I smile at strangers, say “good morning” if I get on elevator and there’s someone already in it, and I’m polite to clerks at the cash register. I once attended a “how not to get mugged” seminar and the speaker said to make eye contact and nod or say hello. He said muggers generally won’t mug someone who might be able to identify them. Go figure!
    When I became single again, I went back to my maiden name, and that’s the name I use as a writer. I’ll never forget how pleased my mother was when she found out I was going to use my maiden name as an author. She was so proud I used the “family name.” It meant a lot to her, and it made me glad I’d decided to do so, because it gave her so much pleasure. (“My daughter, the writer.”) But then she used to say “hi” to strangers, too. *g*

    Reply
  52. From Sherrie:
    Hmph. I guess I’m weird. *g* I’m a naturally friendly person. I smile at strangers, say “good morning” if I get on elevator and there’s someone already in it, and I’m polite to clerks at the cash register. I once attended a “how not to get mugged” seminar and the speaker said to make eye contact and nod or say hello. He said muggers generally won’t mug someone who might be able to identify them. Go figure!
    When I became single again, I went back to my maiden name, and that’s the name I use as a writer. I’ll never forget how pleased my mother was when she found out I was going to use my maiden name as an author. She was so proud I used the “family name.” It meant a lot to her, and it made me glad I’d decided to do so, because it gave her so much pleasure. (“My daughter, the writer.”) But then she used to say “hi” to strangers, too. *g*

    Reply
  53. Jaclyne, there’s definitely a difference. It would probably seem rude, in a small town, *not* to say Hi. You reminded me of trips to rural parts of ME and Virginia, where etiquette calls for acknowledging passing strangers.
    Sherrie, I had a very dear friend who was like you. Our exercise walks were never very brisk because she not only said Hi but would start up conversations with strangers if something interested her about them (and just about everything interested her–she was a remarkable, wonderful person).
    And having been a clerk more than once in my life (starting from childhood–child labor in my parents’ store–yes, it’s true), I try to be polite to anyone dealing with Jane Q Public–though some clerks (the minority, I’m happy to say) do make politeness a real challenge.

    Reply
  54. Jaclyne, there’s definitely a difference. It would probably seem rude, in a small town, *not* to say Hi. You reminded me of trips to rural parts of ME and Virginia, where etiquette calls for acknowledging passing strangers.
    Sherrie, I had a very dear friend who was like you. Our exercise walks were never very brisk because she not only said Hi but would start up conversations with strangers if something interested her about them (and just about everything interested her–she was a remarkable, wonderful person).
    And having been a clerk more than once in my life (starting from childhood–child labor in my parents’ store–yes, it’s true), I try to be polite to anyone dealing with Jane Q Public–though some clerks (the minority, I’m happy to say) do make politeness a real challenge.

    Reply
  55. Jaclyne, there’s definitely a difference. It would probably seem rude, in a small town, *not* to say Hi. You reminded me of trips to rural parts of ME and Virginia, where etiquette calls for acknowledging passing strangers.
    Sherrie, I had a very dear friend who was like you. Our exercise walks were never very brisk because she not only said Hi but would start up conversations with strangers if something interested her about them (and just about everything interested her–she was a remarkable, wonderful person).
    And having been a clerk more than once in my life (starting from childhood–child labor in my parents’ store–yes, it’s true), I try to be polite to anyone dealing with Jane Q Public–though some clerks (the minority, I’m happy to say) do make politeness a real challenge.

    Reply
  56. Jaclyne, there’s definitely a difference. It would probably seem rude, in a small town, *not* to say Hi. You reminded me of trips to rural parts of ME and Virginia, where etiquette calls for acknowledging passing strangers.
    Sherrie, I had a very dear friend who was like you. Our exercise walks were never very brisk because she not only said Hi but would start up conversations with strangers if something interested her about them (and just about everything interested her–she was a remarkable, wonderful person).
    And having been a clerk more than once in my life (starting from childhood–child labor in my parents’ store–yes, it’s true), I try to be polite to anyone dealing with Jane Q Public–though some clerks (the minority, I’m happy to say) do make politeness a real challenge.

    Reply

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