Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fantasy Pen Names

If you're like most authors, you always wanted to do this and so you made up cool writer names for yourself. Patti Pinecone (nature writer) or Taralee Ann Ford (romance writer) or Kathleen Joneston (literary genius).

If you could name yourself, what would it be? What would be the ideal author pen name? I mean, think of JK Rowling. Would Harry Potter have sounded as good written by Joann Rowling? Truman Persons was Capote's real name. Truman was thinking ahead when as a young man he chose to take on his step-father's last name.

I'm not a fan of the maiden name combo. I like the first and last. Period. The 3 name combo just sounds too la-de-da. I'm jealous of Southern author Carson McCullers. What a cool name. Why couldn't I have a tag like that? Her parents give her an awesomely interesting first name, then she marries Mr. McCullers. Bingo-- an ideal author name.

My real name was Karen Jones. Awful, awful pen name, thought I, too plain and boring. I kept trying to change it and come up with more clever, creative versions (see above paragraph). My married name turned out to be not much better, Karen Gowen. When you say it out loud, there's not much of a ring to it, so I ended up with the maiden name combo of Karen Jones Gowen. It's okay, but does it measure up to all those made-up pen names written over my school notebooks? Not really. Still, it is my name so I may as well go with it, right?

Okay, I've admitted it. I'm not crazy about my author name, but there it is. It's my name and I'm sticking to it.

How about you? What kinds of gymnastics did you go through to settle on your current author name? Do you like it, love it, hate it, plan on changing it? Or maybe people don't think too much about this, and I'm a freak who overthinks everything.


  1. If I used my first and last name Liesel DeVaul I sound too much like a romance novelist, like Jude Devereaux. I think L.A. DeVaul works the best. Although I have gone through plenty of pretend names. Lina Fine. Isabel Tinkerton. Gabriella North.

    Choosing a name would be like choosing a new face. How can you decide and settle on just one? You might as well stick with the original.

  2. Ha! Glad to see I'm not the only one who does this, and your pretend names are fantastic. Course your real name is pretty cool, too. I'm jealous!

  3. I kinda wish I had a unique name but at the same time-it is what it is-so I never wanted to bother with a pen name.

  4. Mine is the shortest I know. Thanks to WiDo for suggesting it--makes for easy typing!


  6. Hi

    Kittykat Caruso.

    (Used only once and long since abandoned - I wonder why? LOL!)

    I entered an erm, erotic flash fiction competition once, years ago and being the shy retiring type couldn't put my real name just in case my mum saw it (??!) so I chose that name.

    The rest, as they say, is history.


    Take care

  7. I've never thought about using anything other than my real name! Perhaps I should change it?

    From now on I am Princess Dooby McCurrent-bun!

  8. I just awarded your blog, One Lovely Blog Award -

  9. I like the way my maiden-married name combo turned out. I chose it so people that knew me pre-marriage would recognize my books right away.

  10. I'm not crazy about mine because I'm not good at pronouncing Rs and my name has three of them! But I'm trying hard to be honest and open, so I guess I'm stuck with it. ~Miriam Drori

  11. I have a super hero name and I'm sticking to it! Think about it:

    Peter Parker
    Clark Kent
    Louis Lane
    Lana Lang
    Amanda Acton.

    It rocks :D

  12. The Mavens in my writing chapter suggested we keep our first names (or initials) and change only the last name. They said you'd forget who you were at conferences if you kept changing your first name. I'm sticking with Christine-- as for the last name? I've got tons of ideas, but first I want to walk the stacks and see which last names fall at eye level. ;)

  13. So glad to know I'm not a freak who overthinks everything...well, at least not where author naming is concerned lol.

    Christine, makes sense. Good thing I'm going with the real thing. I'm flaky enough without having to remember a fake name. I look forward to seeing what you choose. btw, I usually steer towards the k's, l's, and m's in the library, for no reason I know of, it's just where I gravitate.

    Amanda, you're right. I actually thought Super Hero when I first saw your name. Rock on! Amanda Acton is ready for action!

    Kittykat Caruso? Love that one! But yes, it does sound like a porn star name lol.

    Tamara Hart Heiner & M. Gray, the longest and the shortest names in the WiDo lineup!

    Miriam, I see what you mean about the "r's" but at the same time it sounds very literary. And important. I like it. Do you write literary fiction? Fantasy? Kids books? It would sound good with all those genres for sure.

    Princess Donna, LOL!

    David, good thing you went with the J. That makes it sound really good.

    Cami, At last I win something from your blog!!

  14. I know exactly what you mean. I wanted to just use my name, but do you know how many Kathi Petersons are out there? A ton. There's even a doctor with my name spelled the same way. So, alas I went to the three name option. In my next life I thinking: Bambi Forest or Hunter Green. Well, maybe not. :0)

  15. I have a really common name that I share with a notorious Australian outlaw - well his sister anyway. Could be worse though.

    Googling youself can be quite enlightening :-)

  16. Hmm. Well, my maiden name is Anglesey (angle-see) and when someone asked me my name I would answer, "Krista Anglesey," which, if you say out loud, is a bit awkward with the two A's right next to each other, and the unusual last name, not to mention that I was very shy and spoke very quietly. I always wanted to shove my middle name, Lynne, in there, to avoid the inevitable, "What? Kristen? Kristang-what?"
    Love my married name, sounds very scandinavian. Danish, to be exact. Still shoved my middle name in there.
    My concern? Seriously, I think about this: My signature does not include my middle name, or even initial. Will my fans notice that? Because I can't seem to work it in gracefully. Heh heh. Eye roll.

  17. Literary fiction, fantasy or kids books? Some of my short stories could be called fantasy. Perhaps I should write more of those.... ~Miriam


Comments are welcome!