Writing With Silvia Hartmann
Introducing Nick Starfields -
Why I Choose A Pen Name
And LOL some more!
I've been thinking about this for a while and now, the decision has been
forced upon me by Nielsen Book Data - everybody, I'd like to introduce you
to Nick Starfields.
Before we go any further, here is the Wikipedia entry for "Authors Pen
A pen name or nom de plume is a pseudonym adopted by an author. Nom de plume
is a French-language expression.
Some authors take on pen names to conceal their identity: for example the
Brontë sisters, who felt they would either not be published at all, or not
taken seriously as women authors. Others do so for fear of violence or
harassment, for example Ibn Warraq. Others do so to segregate different
types of work: Lewis Carroll took a pen name because as Charles Lutwidge
Dodgson he wrote mathematics papers; Agatha Christie wrote romantic novels
as Mary Westmacott. Many writers, particularly in genre fiction, are so
prolific that they are forced to take pen names in order to sell their books
to different publishers: this is the case, for instance, with John Dickson
Carr, who, in the 1930s, was publishing two detective stories a year under
his own name and another two, through another publisher, under the pen name
Carter Dickson. Pseudonyms are not always secret: Stendhal's real name was
known: at least one critic disparaged his pen name as an affectation.
Names are funny things. I remember we had a discussion on this list about
magic names, name changes, shamanic names and all such things; one of the
problems I've always had with "my" name was that "my" name was given to me
by dear mama and papa who had a certain creature in mind they would hope I
might grow into, but ahm ... well ... you know ...
When the internet came along with its databases and sorting devices, I soon
found out that having the same name for two very different in life
incarnations causes nothing but chaos and helps no-one; so in 1998 I finally
decided to have from then on, all the dog training and animal behaviour
stuff under "S.A. Kent", my married name at the time, and all the personal
development things under "Silvia Hartmann".
That made matters a whole lot easier to sort all around.
Then, there was In Serein.
This is materially different from anything else in the "Silvia Hartmann"
catalogue, and I have this funny feeling that the dear parents would not
have approved of that book <g>; further, I really didn't think that "Silvia
Hartmann" wrote that anyway, and when it came to it, I've always signed off
as "Starfields" on that.
It even says Starfields on the cover.
Which is when I started thinking about this person, and what their first
name might be, and found it amusing to say that that would be Nick - as in,
short for internet nickname or handle. Works for me!
But that was just a bit of an in joke and I never really expected to
seriously start writing under the nom de plume of "Nick Starfields" - until
I saw in the Publisher's database that it just can't handle a single name.
It needs a first name and a second name, and so In Serein's author is listed
as: "Fields, Star" on the very database that feeds all the other book
datbases of the world, be it Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Whitaker,
I can't have that, and not for my new little darling, Vampire Solstice.
We need a first name as well and that makes a complete pen name then, or
traditional nom de plume.
And Nick Starfields it is.
The fiction incarnation.
Not an affectation, but a necessity to keep my multiple personalities on the
straight and narrow :-) and to make them
databaseable for all concerned.
This is really quite funny, and an example of when folk try and pidgeonhole
you, to go with the flow and just rent a few neighbouring ones as well,
while you're there.
So now you know who Nick Starfields is, where they came from and why that
happened - it's just one of those things.