I always knew I would use a pseudonym if I got published because I didn't think my real name sounded very romance writer-ish. Why sound like someone's grandmother or old maiden aunt if you have a choice in the matter? So, when I received my book contract, the decision had essentially already been made. I took the names of my daughter and son, Devon and Matthew. To this day, my son kids me about it and says I don't care as much about him because I put his name last. What's more, I added insult to injury by tacking an "S" onto the end of it.
Many of the elderly relatives didn't understand why I wouldn't use my own, perfectly good name. But just as many thought it was very cool. All in all, I think it's worked out pretty well. Not once have I goofed up while in author mode in the romance community and signed my real name to a message. Whenever someone calls me Devon, I always respond because the name is as familiar and dear to me as my own.
Within my local RWA chapter, I still go by my real name. Others in the group who have pseudonyms use them for all purposes, even when communicating on our private chapter loop. But not me, and that's what I've been thinking about lately. Maybe it's time. I know it must be confusing to new members who join our group. When I post messages, they don't make the connection between me and the person on the published author page. Why should they, unless I tell them?
Still, I'm resistant to crossing over totally and becoming the identity I've created. And I can't really put my finger on the reason why. I have no problem whatsoever with it out there in the cyber romance community. But the idea of asking people I've known for a lot of years to suddenly start calling me by an assumed name just feels silly somehow. I can't help wondering if anyone else felt this way.
I will tell you this. Taking a pseudonym put a degree of separation between me and my publishing experience. Here, and on my web site, and on the various forums out there in cyberspace, my real name is nowhere to be found. Yes, the photos are me and all the information is about me. But when I saw my book for the first time, it didn't have my name on it. I in no way expected this to have an impact, and I wasn't prepared for it. Until now, I've never even confessed it. Somehow, not having my real name on the cover of my book de-personalized it. It was almost as if I'd worked all those years for something and then ended up handing it over to someone else. I'm wondering if there are other authors out there who've experienced this feeling of separation by taking on an assumed name.