One of the things a writer has to decide is are you going to put your real name on the book or make one up?
Writers. They make up all kinds of stuff.
Some writers do use their real names, others, like Mark Twain, Lemony Snicket, George Eliot and Dr. Suess are pen names. However, when using a pen name you will have to deal with some legalities depending on the state you live. You might be required to file a DBA (Doing Business As), or even Trademark your pen name. Some writers go so far as to legally change their name.
Being a big believer in "that's way too much work" I compromised and used my initials C.L.
So why did I do that? Do I have an exotic name such as Caimbrie, or a unisex name such as Caldwell or a more...unique name like Cactus?
No, my name is Cindy, and that's not short for Cynthia, it's Cindy. Believe it, my mother had a long conversation with an elementary school teacher of mine who thoroughly believed in calling children by their full name. Which was a problem because I don't answer to Cynthia because...well it's not my name. Also I've seen my birth certificate. It's Cindy.
The nickname thing is not unusual in my family. Mom had six kids and out of the six two got full first names. The rest of us had nicknames as our given name. I've got a brother named Jimmie, and that's not a misspelling. Mom's children naming philosophy was you're going to be called that so you might as well be named that.
I wish I had a heartwarming back story as to how I got my name, but being five of six kids, three of four girls the story went like this. Mom and Dad are headed to the hospital for my grand appearance. Mom: "What do you want to name it if it's a girl?" Dad: "I don't know, what about Cindy?" Mom: "Cindy's good."
Yeah that story ranks up there with the time my Mom called me a prune picker. I had to look that one up as I was certain it was an insult. It wasn’t.
Anyway, so why don't I use my name as an author? Well don't get me wrong, I like my name. I've had it a long time and I'm used to it. But other Cindys and I have had conversations on the subject of Cindy and we all agree. Cindy is just so Buffy.
You know what I mean. Girl with preppy name regularly defeats vampires and other unsavory monster types on a regular basis. It's the joke of the title.
No one takes Cindys seriously, and don't argue with me, because unless you are Cindy, Cyndi, Cindi, or however else you want to spell it you do not understand. It's a happy sounding name, it’s sort of like a banjo. You just can’t do doom and gloom music on a banjo.
It's just as well I write non-serious books, otherwise I would not be confessing my real name.
Anyway, what do you all think on the subject of Pen Names? If you were to choose one, what would it be? Please comment.
Oh what does the "L' stand for? Hey I've got to keep some mystery, but I'll tell you this much.
It's not what you think.
Mystery writer C.L. Ragsdale is the author of The Reboot Files a Christian Cozy Mystery Series, and a superhero story called Chasing Lady Midnight. A California native, she loves to "surf" the web to research plot details for her fun, quirky stories. She has a degree in Theatre Arts which greatly influenced her writing style. Working in various fields as a secretary has allowed her to both master her writing skills and acquire valuable technical knowledge which she uses liberally in her plots. Although that is where she got her idea for The Secretary, she is not an evil mastermind. Although some of her former employers might disagree. These days she contents herself with knitting while contemplating her next diabolical plot. Story plot that is.
THE REBOOT FILES: The Mystery of Hurtleberry House, The Island of Living Trees, The Harbinger of Retribution, and The Wrong Ghost.