Exploring the Pen Name
With Guest Blogger and Author Lisa Haselton
(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 versions of Choices Meant for Gods and Apparitions. Details were posted June 1.)
When Someone Already Uses Your Name...
In my younger days, I may have toyed with a pseudonym, but when I started writing and submitting early on, I didn’t use one. I didn’t have any fiction published, but I did receive my first rejections. My first actual publications were clips for local papers, and I used my real name without any hesitation. I still do. Any non-fiction work has my real name.
However, using my real name for fiction would cause chaos since it is already on the New York Times bestseller’s list. Yep, there’s someone out there using my real name, in the genres I write in. She already has somewhere around 60 novels released, too, so I think she gets to keep using it.
It could be fun to try publishing fiction with my real name and see what kind of confusion it would bring, though. Hhhm. Using my real name may even get me in a door or two, to start, too. It would be fun to see our books mixed together on the shelves. Maybe I’d even get to be a celebrity for a little while. Would a publisher actually publish a novel by two people with the same name? Doubtful.
I’ve always wanted to make a name for myself in the fiction world, and since I can’t do it with my given name, I’ve had to come up with a fake one. I came up with one, but it didn’t feel right once I was ready to put it down. My original pseudonym was simply a first name I really liked along with my maternal grandparents’ last name. Then I decided I’d be more comfortable keeping my real first name and using that last name, however, I had a cousin-in-law with that name, and it seemed wrong to have two of us in the same family. She isn’t a writer, and I certainly wouldn’t introduce myself to any family with that name, but it just seemed awkward.
So then, there I was, knowing I wanted my same first name, but a last name I felt comfortable with and that meant something to me. So, I dug back into family history and chose ‘Haselton’. It has a special meaning and the spelling is uncommon. Oh, and it isn’t on any book shelves. Yet!
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."