By Any Other Name – Writing Personas

There are many writers who have written under a pseudonym for a variety of reasons. In what other job could you create an identity behind which you exist, without getting into trouble? For me, the choice to 

create a pen name was two-fold. Firstly, at the time I began to take my writing seriously back in 2000 my day job involved writing a lot of non-fiction material. I wanted to keep the two separate though I can’t remember the exact reason why. The second reason was because my maiden name of Lamb had caused me much grief as a child as you can imagine. Back then, in my younger days, I was obviously more bothered about it than I am now. Particularly as there are some famous Lambs which grace the writing world.

No matter. My pen name, Louise Charles, is not a million miles away from my reality. Louise is my second name and Charles is my husbands second name. Without Simon, I wouldn’t be where I am with my writing, he is the most supportive person a writer could have. He makes sure I have space, time and the tools I need. He acts as a source of inspiration, courage and whom with I bounce around problems I’m having with characters and plot. He reads, edits and proofs my manuscripts, comments on covers and keeps on my back about getting things done. So for me, it made sense to include him in the mix.

Under this pen name, I write mainly historical and contemporary stories in both the short and long form. However, I’m working towards developing a presence in the genre of fantasy, which I’m excited about. It gives me much more space and opportunity to be really creative. The advice is I’ll need to create another persona, so readers and the whole marketing machine behind being an indie writer, doesn’t get confused. I’ve been playing around and nothing definitive has jumped off the page, yet. Suggestions would be most welcome!

And here are a few well known writers who have successfully written under a pseudonym for a variety of reasons.

  • George Sand was the pseudonym of Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, a French novelist and memoirist
  • Ruth Rendell writes under the name of Barbara Vine for some of her work
  • Cecil Smith is the real name behind C.S.Forester, the author of The African Queen and other novels.
  • Charlotte Bronte began writing as Currer Bell, as for the first, more than likely because at that time as a writer you were taken more seriously if you were a man…
  • George Orwell was given the birth name of Eric Arthur Blair
  • The very successful Nora Roberts also writes under the name of J.D.Robb

Do you have a pen name? If so why and how did you decide what persona you were going to create?


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