here or in recorded form here. It has made many lists as one of the greatest novels written in English. It's sure on mine.
As writers she and I have little in common. My fiction is of the fluffiest. Hers delves into the very heart of man. But we do have something in common: pen names.
She chose a masculine pen name because she wanted to be taken seriously as a writer. Women writers in the Victorian Era were associated with light fiction. (Which is exactly what I'm trying to do.)
I have had to use pen names twice now. When my darling daughter and great son-in-law owned a bilingual magazine that reached out to a Hispanic population, I wrote for them but they felt I needed to use a Hispanic name. I chose an outrageous one, "Esperanza del Sol", which my son-in-law actually liked. So I've been published under that one.
Another magazine will publish an article and a story of mine next year but they usually do not use the same writer twice in an issue. Lo and behold! I need another pen name. Somehow Esperanza was too over-the-top for this very conservative children's magazine. So I reached into the family archives and pulled out Ann Argyle Fox, my great-great-great grandmother. She's buried here in the valley where I now live. I know almost nothing about her but I thought her name would look great in print.
It's way cool having a pseudonym. It's like having an alias or a secret identity. I highly recommend it. Plus, picking them out is a hoot.
I wasted a lot of time looking into the whole issue of pen names and discovered quite a few which I thought were folks' real names. Probably the most interesting thing I learned is that nom de plume (literally "name of pen") didn't come from the French at all. The English made it up. The French used nom de guerre (name of war) instead and today use "pseudonyme."
When I published my novel last October, my mom asked me if I was going to use my real name. This worried me a bit. Perhaps she was afraid that I was going to shame myself in public? I went with the real McCoy but still have reasons to use another name from time to time.
I'd love to see a comment if you've had to use one yourself or if you have a favorite writer who uses one!