So this morning we were talking over about pen names vs. real names.
I started off writing under Abby Gray since this whole idea of writing romance was going to be a big SECRET. The name took a lot of thought because after all it was going to be the next huge thing in romance books. I could envision NY Times lists, movie deals, needing to buy a bigger wheel barrow to use to cart all my money to the bank. And OMGoodness, I certainly did not want my lifestyle to be upset by the paparazzi, now did I?
Abby was my one eyed, black and white cat. Her one eye symbolized tunnel vision. I was giving up oil painting, needle work and even retiring my sewing machine to write the great novels of the next century--2000 was right around the corner those days. The color of her fur, black and white, symbolized the writing on the page. But now I needed a last name and my maiden name was Gray. That symbolized that everything is in shades of gray. Even the most evil villain has a soft spot somewhere and even the purest saint will have a little taint somewhere on her white robes of righteousness.
So there, it was my secret. The name was chosen.
But as Paul Harvey used to say, "And now the rest of the story."
My sister was so excited that I'd finally gotten a toenail into the door that she sent out a press release to three newspapers. My mother checked into buying a gilded snake oil wagon and an old mule to take my books on the road to sell along with her liniment for arthritic aches and pains. The bank wouldn't give her a loan for the wagon so she had to put on her Sunday best every time I had a new release and march up and down Main Street telling everyone she knew about the new book.
The line died! That's devastating in a writer's world. It means that there will be no NY Times list, no movie deals and the old rusted out wheel barrow with a bumpy tire will do just fine for many years. I did find a new publisher and decided to use my own name--Carolyn Brown--the very one that my mama and daddy gave me at birth.
Again, "And now the rest of the story."
Had my mama know that Carolyn and Louise both were two of my daddy's old girlfriends, she might have named me Abby or Gertrude or Bessie and she probably would have divorced him a lot sooner than she did.
So the name on the book is mine and after more than 70 books, I don't think I'll be changing it again. And so far I haven't had a problem with the paparazzi. The wheel barrow hasn't needed replaced. And although I've made the NY Times, I haven't had any movie producers knocking on my door.