Friday, February 28, 2014

What's In a Name?

       There's a lot of buzz about using your own name and using pseudonyms. And the reasons for choosing a pen name are many and varied. Some people don't want use their real name for fear of fans stalking them--a totally valid concern! Others take up a  pen name because well...isn't that what you're supposed to do? Others keep their real names because maybe they have an awesome name, or happily welcome stalkers  fans. Take George R.R. Martin for example. That's his real name! He even has his address listed in the yellow pages, and welcomes anyone willing to drive to the middle of nowhere New Mexico to visit him as long as they buy him a drink and support the itty bitty town he lives in.

      Then of course there are stories like a well known writer who lost her ACTUAL birth name to her publisher because it was written in the contract her name and all her books belonged to them. She ended up publishing under a completely different name. You also have people like Nora Roberts who also goes by JD Robb because she wanted readers to know that her style and stories under that name were NOT her romance books. So sometimes pen names are needed!

       The name you see is my pen name. I own it too! But I chose to have one for probably a stranger reason than most. Well, perhaps not too strange. I have always wanted a pen name. Even as a tot of seven I was thinking up ways I could change my name for writing. I wasn't very creative about it. I think once I penned my last name as 'butterfly'. I will say this though, there is something really wonderful about being some one else. And this is why I have a pen name. I'm some one else. I am a WRITER. I'm not the girl whose struggling to make ends meat and living with her mother while she tries to launch her writing career off from absolutely nothing. But Katie SHE'S a professional. She's a writer with deadlines and drive.

       Perhaps the feeling is a throw back from my very colorful acting career. I've always loved acting, ever since I was a mouse in third grade that got not only a speaking role, but a singing solo as well! I loved being some one else. So years and years later when I was in college I decided I needed a pen name, a name that made me FEEL like a writer. Because honestly, I didn't feel like it. My name just isn't the sort that you see on covers, and really, I didn't FEEL like a writer myself. So I came up with Katie Masters. When I'm Katie I find myself more able to stop dilly dallying. When I fall into the clutches of  pinterest when I should be writing I say "you're Katie Masters." and it snaps me right back into Writer Mode. even my posture changes. I'm a WRITER. I don't have time for looking at knitting patterns and food recipes! I HAVE NOVELS TO SEND INTO THE WORLD!

       I thought long and hard about it--and it actually has a lot of meaning for me. Katie was going to be my real name, my father insisted on an Irish name (seeing that he's Irish) and my mom was happy to comply. But every one and their grandmother named their girls Katie, so they went and found one of the (at the time) most obscure and least used Irish-Gaelic name they could find. And thus I was named. My last name...well, its a bit embarrassing, but I'll share this with you readers, because who knows, maybe it'll inspire you!

      I chose Masters not because I wanted to be 'master' of writing, its not even one of my family names, but because...well....because it starts with M. I was very firm that my last named had to start with an M, N, or P. That if ever I find my books on a book shelf they would be placed next to the writers who inspired me to become a writer, who wrote friends for me when I had none, and let me escape a not always wonderful childhood into their worlds for a time. People like Andrea Norton, Ann Macaffery, Mercedes Lackey, Tamora Peirce. They'll never know me in real life I'm sure, or how much their writing kept hope alive in me, but even just seeing my name near their's would fill my hear with untold joy. So there's my embarrassing reason for having my last name. I'm just a big nerd/geek (a Neek, I have decided) fan who wants to be near her favorite authors!

        Now, that isn't to say I love my real name. Its a great name! But it has too much history behind it. Too much baggage and annoying habits that aren't conductive for writing. So I chose a pen name. I know some people use pen names because its fun, or out of necessity. I chose mine to FEEL like a writer. Am I the only one who chose a name because they felt more like a writer with it?

         How about you, readers and writers? Do you use your real name, or do you have a pen name? What was your reason? I love hearing from people, so please don't hesitate to comment!  I'm so curious to learn about the stories behind your choices!

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