Oh come on. Admit it! Did you ever want to be someone else? Or want to have a different name? I know I did. As a kid, I didn’t really care for my given name. It was…different. My friends had ‘normal’ names like Mary, Nancy, Susan, Debbie, Karen. I was Charlene.
You can’t exactly tell your folks that you don’t like your name, especially when I assumed for years that I was named after my Dad, Charlie. I mentioned that to my mom when I was well into my 30s and she just looked at me like it was something she & Dad had never considered. Huh? Then where did it come from, I asked. We just liked it, she said. I do know that her godmother had a daughter with the same name. Maybe it was just transference? Though Mom never did admit that was its origin either.
But Kate St. Ives? I don’t know that it’s as true these days, but in the ‘old days’, many writers chose pen names so they could not be identified. (I wonder if that’s harder to do with the internet.) Some who wrote in different genres were told to do so by agents or publishers. There were concerns that so-so sales in their published romance line might reflect badly and influence sales in their successful mystery line. Think about it. Have you been hooked on a writer’s science fiction and then picked up one of their fantasies and discover it’s just not your cup o’ tea? You love the Stephanie Plum series but aren’t as enthralled with Janet Evanovich’s other books?
Okay…back to Kate…Katie, Katherine. It’s a name I’ve always liked though Katherine, while classical, sounds a bit too formal. If I’d had another daughter I would’ve campaigned to name her Kate. But it’s still rather weird to think about my novel by Kate St. Ives. I actually don’t picture myself as a Kate, but since I won’t have another child in this lifetime, I’ll use the name. It’s a girl-next-door kind of name. And my novel is one of those family dramas that could come from next door. Other lit fic I write in the future may have similar themes.
And St. Ives. Did you notice the header on my blog? I took that photo in 2009 when I spent 3 days in St. Ives, Cornwall. It called me back for 6 days in 2010. Sigh. It is one of my favorite places. I want to live in a little cottage there. I want to take long walks along the coastal path, along the marina, and through the narrow, cobbled streets. I’m ready to go back! Take me away.
This is how I became Kate St. Ives.
So writers out there – do you use a pen name? or multiple pen names? Did it take you a while to get used to the idea of publishing under another name? What’s your story?