Friday, March 18, 2011
LIVING A DUAL LIFE--Written by the author known as Ann Charles
In my workshops, I am often asked questions regarding having a pseudonym. Most of the time, the questions center around what names I think they should choose, and if I think certain names will work well with the genres in which they write. Many of the questions come from writers who have been at this game for two years or less. They are excited about having their names on their book covers. I don’t blame them, I was excited, too. Still am. But not many of these authors consider the power of pseudonyms—how they can be used as cloaking devices to hide insecurities, fears, doubts; how much strength they can give authors standing in front of audiences, reading to groups of fans at book signings, or asking conference coordinators to consider taking a chance on them as guest speakers.
Most of us authors are loner sorts of folks who are the most comfortable living in our fiction worlds with our characters. I’m no exception. I’d take hanging out in my version of Deadwood over selling my products any day, but hiding in my stories won’t make me any money or build any name recognition. I have to go forth and speak, share, entertain, and act like the out-going author that readers want to me to be, smiling until I give my final bow each night and the lights go dim. The real me groans and shudders over the whole idea of this, but “Ann” loves the bright lights. She feeds off making people happy enough to smile back. She takes joy in verbally conversing with authors and fans alike. She is the fun-looking, grinning cowgirl in my author pictures. Me? I’m the one who is most comfortable at home in my jammies with no makeup on, drinking wine straight from the bottle, eating M&Ms like they are oxygen supplements, and mingling with the fictional characters.
Together, Ann and I can build an empire.
No, I’m not crazy. Okay, maybe there’s a bit of a multiple personality disorder going on with me (same as most authors). As I said, I have a dual personality. If you’re shy and dread the public life that authors are now being pushed to lead, you should give this duality a try. You might find that you can leap tall buildings in a single bound, just like Ann Charles can.
About Ann: Ann Charles writes mysteries full of mayhem, humor, and a splash of romance. Ann has a B.A. in English with an emphasis on creative writing from the University of Washington. A winner of the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, she has been a member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America for many moons. Ann has written several contemporary novels and series, and she is currently toiling away on her next book.
To learn more about Ann: