Exploring the Pen Name
With Guest Blogger and Paranormal Horror Author Raven Bower
(During the month of June, here at Today the Dragon Wins we explore the use of pseudonyms. Don't forget to participate in the discussion in the comment field to enter the contest for a copy of the eBook version of Choices Meant for Gods. Details were posted June 1.)
Practical Use of the Pen Name
My decision to use a pen name was partly based off practicality. Being an Herbalist and a fiction writer, I wanted to keep my fiction separate from my non-fiction. That way when a reader picks up a Raven Bower book they know it’s fiction with a supernatural romantic slant instead of an herbal.
Of course, I’ve yet to write an herbal…fiction is where my heart is and where my passions flow. But you never know! One day that non-fiction bug will bite.
I also teach religious education at our church and thought using a pen name would help eliminate the “Eeek! That strange lady who writes the supernatural stuff is teaching our kids!” thing. I’m glad I did. People have rather strange reactions when you tell them you write fiction – let alone fiction about romance, ghosts, crime and the supernatural. Some people are intrigued by what I do and others…not so much. It doesn’t help that I live in the Bible belt and most of the newspapers up here won’t touch me or my work with a blessed crucifix – even though priests have read Apparitions and enjoyed it. Go figure.
So having a pen name allows me to choose to be writer or go incognito.
How did I happen upon this particular pen name?
Originally, Raven Bower was a character of mine for an occult suspense book. Unfortunately the plot had holes the size of the Atlantic and I didn’t quite like the flow. One day perhaps I’ll fill those gaps, redirect the currents and the story will be written properly – with a new heroine name!
Ravens and crows are my favorite birds and I enjoy watching their antics. They also like food as much as I do. Have you ever noticed how they’re always eating? Granted, I don’t eat carcasses on the side of the road…but hey…a nice grilled steak… :)
The mythology behind the raven is intriguing and split – much like our political parties, but let's not go there. Some legends associate the raven with bad luck, others give it the ability to foresee death. Yet others associate it with blessings, if you’re kind to it, and link ravens with the soul – I prefer this one.
Why the Bower?
A bower is a shelter made of vines or tree boughs. If done well they’re gorgeous. I particularly like the ones made of Wisteria. I lack the patience to make one, but I can still ogle other people’s bowers! Even though they’re pretty, I chose the name more off their use as a shelter. Basically, the entire pen name means shelter for souls. A bit eerie perhaps but fitting to the genres I write.
Do I regret using a pen name?
Not really. I answer to Raven and do almost everything writing-related with that name. Admittedly, it can get confusing when I’m with someone who thinks of me as Jen and run into another who thinks of me as Raven. Sure makes for interesting situations!
I've read Raven's first paranormal horror novel, Apparitions, and can highly recommend it. Criminy, I'll never sit in a parked car with the windows down again. To learn more about Raven, you can check out her site here. And, even though she's a friend of mine, and we attended Context20 as panelists together last year, I just can't think of her as Jen. She's the "shelter for souls" person all the way for me. :)
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."