Sunday, January 9, 2011

Who am I?

I’m in the closet. Did you know that? Oh, you know Diana. Maybe you’ve even met her at one of the conventions or at a book signing. She’s friendly, enjoys the company of her fellow Scribes and all the readers and loves her Guinness.

But Diana is only one side of this author. You’ve probably figured out “Diana Hunter” is a pen name, a nom de plume, a pseudonym. When I sold my first book to Ellora’s Cave (Secret Submission), my husband wasn’t sure he wanted his family name dragged into the world of porn (oh, how much he’s learned in the past eight years!). Besides, I have a day job as a high school teacher and with the subject matter of my books better suited to 18 year olds and older, life could become difficult if I used my real name.

But then again, life has been sometimes difficult because of the separation of me and me. I have to constantly remember what Diana knows that I don’t. Or that I do and she doesn’t. And that’s another thing. I drive my kids nuts when I speak of myself in the third person (“Diana has a conference this weekend, so I’ll be leaving after school on Friday,” gave my daughter fits this past autumn.) There are times I’d love to come out of this cramped little space and rejoin the two parts of my life.

I can't even use the distintion "real life" vs "other life". BOTH lives are real, both are me, both are embodiements of my own personality. Who you see at the bookfairs and conferences is the same person you'd see if you came to visit me at school. There are things I'd love to discuss with you (readers) that I can't because my hand would tip and people would put two and two together and come up with my given name. So there are several frustrations to using a pen name.

I console myself with the fact that I have lots of company in my closet. Heck, many of our founding fathers wrote under pen names to protect their reputations (can you say “The Federalist Papers”?). Some writers hid their gender (George Elliot), some needed to save the family name (Moliere), and still others slanted their stories toward specific readers and so needed a name suitable for children’s books (Dr. Seuss).

In fact, when one starts looking at lists of pen names, I begin to realize just how crowded my closet is. Perhaps since I’m in such illustrious company, I should just settle in, stop complaining and get comfy. Hey, Saki – pass the pretzels!

PS. Be sure to check out the links above. You'll spend hours at Dr. Seuss's site just playing around and several hours more at Saki's site reading all the free stories! Play safe!


Cait Miller said...

I don't have much seperation between my author life and my real life anymore but in the beginning I chose a pen name because I was advised to. Also I had to sign a 'good conduct' agreement when I began my training to become a midwife and wasn't sure whether erotic romance would count as bad behaviour, LOL! Finally, I didn't want someone meeting me in an antenatal clinic and saying "thanks very much." ;)

Diana said...

Oh, Cait...that's too funny!

"You're Cait Miller? I'm in the condition because of your book!"

Cracking me up!

N.J.Walters said...

lol Too funny, Cait.

I use a pen name too. It's difficult at times, but I'm slowly starting to come out of the writing closet to some people. Not everyone appreciates what we write.

Lynn LaFleur said...

I wasn't exactly hiding my identity, but trying to keep my erotic romance books separate from my sensual romance books. The erotic romance took off in sales, the sensual romance fizzled. Guess I know what ladies what to read! ;-)