How many hats do you wear?
That of a child, parent, colleague, friend…
There’s the baby’s bonnet when we’re new to the world; the child’s sunhat as we splash in the bright shallows; the school hat; then maybe a party hat or two… Do you have a sombrero or turban squashed at the back of your cupboard?
Who doesn’t love a warm beanie on a windy winter’s night? Around a campfire, watching the sparks swirl above a canopy of ice bright stars, no one notices your hat hair.
A name is like a hat, and most of us have at least one or two.
Do you have a nickname?
Though we might not all change names at the drop of a hat, we might take our partner’s name, and drop it again. We might become a mother, a father, a grandparent. We have business names and pen-names, nick names and even general names. Sometimes I’m “the Australian”, “the Sydneysider”, the “writer” or “reader”.
Many authors use pseudonyms. Among famous classic novelists, George Sand had a “real” name. It was Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin. Born in 1804 in Paris, she was known as “Aurore” to her friends.
A well-known contemporary example is JK Rowlings, who temporarily escaped the hype and expectations set by her brilliantly successful Harry Potter series to create The Cuckoo’s Calling under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith.
As Mother Nature Network (MNN) reveals, even the famous Agatha Christie and Stephen King have written under different names. Christie even wrote six romances under the name of Mary Westmacott.
Why use a pen name? The big question for me is why more writers don’t use pseudonyms! We’re inventive people after all. We create whole worlds and books full of characters. Why stop at our own name?
There’s a delicious freedom in the art of re-invention.
In my fiction-writing hat, as Amber Jakeman, I love creating feel-good fiction and sweet romance, in the landscape of the heart.
What pseudonym would you choose for yourself, and why?