Monday, March 31, 2008


That’s “also known as” and I’m writing on the topic due to a remark about my use of Pamela J. Dodd for writing, my website, and this blog. I don’t use my married name; instead I use my maiden name. When I first began to seek a publisher for The Gift Horse, I decided to make a distinction between the writer from other aspects of my life (including wife, mother, and English instructor.) For the record, I use hubby’s name on my driver’s license, my bank account, and at my job. In fact, both of my publishers send checks to the married name as well. Before I signed the first contract, I did ask hubby if he had a problem with my use of Dodd; he said, “I don’t care." And I don't think he does. For him, it has all the importance of my choice of laundry detergents.

Okay, I do tend to digress.

Many writers use a nom de plume, and most people know that Samuel L. Clemens wrote as Mark Twain and Mary Ann Evans wrote as George Elliot. However, readers might not know that M. M. Kaye is Mary Margaret Kaye Hamilton, that Marilyn Harris Springer writes as Marilyn Harris, or that Diana Jean Gabaldon Watkins writes as Diana Gabaldon. Apparently writing under a maiden name is not just my idea.

Some writers, of course, have several “author names.” I know several folks who count Nora Roberts as a favorite, and she also writes as Sarah Hardesty, J.D. Robb, Nora Roberts Smith, and Eleanor Wilder. I’ve heard Bob Mayer speak at writer’s conferences in the southeast; he writes as himself and as Robert Doherty, Greg Donegan, and Bob McGuire. Here’s a website with some 11,620 entries (4,179 'real' + 7,441 'pseudo') so you can look for your favorite authors to see who they really are.

When I was in high school, my mother recommended books by Jean Plaidy and Victoria Holt. During high school and college, I viewed the latter of that pair as one of my favorite writers. Later, I discovered Phillipa Carr, who also wrote what mama called “mysteries” on my own. Some years later, I discovered that the Plaidy, Holt and Carr books were all written by the same author, Eleanor Hibbert.

Entertainers often use “stage names” which is another use of a/k/a. For instance, Engelbert Humperdinck is really Arnold George Dorsey, and Wynonna is Christina Ciminella.

If you ever want to write as someone else, on the title page of the manuscript, put your real name, then on the next line, put writing as__________. Fill in the blank, and you are in good shape.

What I can't tell you is whether or not you want to let anyone know your alternate identity.

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