Sunday, March 30, 2008

What's in a Pen Name

I've been asked lately by a few new writers why I chose to write under a pen name and how I came up with it.

There are lots of reasons to consider a pen name if you're a writer. Privacy was a consideration of mine. After all, I have aspirations of being a NYT bestseller eventually. ;) I also wanted a separation between my writing career and my day job and a certain degree of anonymity because of the steaminess of some of my books.

After making the decision to have a pen name, here's how I picked one. Jami was a no-brainer. My father's name was James. My parents had wanted to name me "Jami," but my sister liked Pam, so my real name is Pam.

For a last name, it was more difficult. I got out a family tree, wrote down some of the last names I liked, and went to a couple bookstores. I checked out where I'd be placed on the shelves. I wanted to be next to some good authors that would attract customers to that area on the shelves. I also wanted to be near the beginning of the alphabet. When I'm browsing, I start at the beginning and usually don't get to the end before I find a book.

Davenport was the last name of a great-great grandfather of mine. Anyway, I chose that last name based on the above criteria.

If you're a writer with a pen name, how did you choose your pen name?

2 comments:

Lynnsplanet said...

Well, interesting question, Jami.

My husband and I love to have fun. Several years ago, he switched companies. No one had met me as yet.

Every Friday, they went to play darts after work, enjoy cocktail hour with drinks, friendly banter and free food.

So, we cooked up this game. I was to dress up as a choosy hooker and hope I didn't get arrested. I had to come up with a name. Bekki Hobbs came up. It went on for three, four months - then bam, he took me the company Christmas party and introduced me as his wife. Some still don't buy it.

Yeah, there was some sticky moments where things went a little awry, but I handled them.

So, when I tried to come up with a pen name, I hung onto Bekki and dropped the Hobbs, which is my maternal grandmother's maiden name. Becky Hobbs is also a country singer, so I didn't want the confusion for her or I.

Lynn is my real middle name. Hence, Bekki Lynn

~ Bekki

Wendi said...

Wow, Jami, you really did your research. I just always liked being called darlin'. ;)

Wendi Darlin