Sunday, 30 August 2015


Is a pseudonym - or several pseudonyms worthwhile?  In my view yes, it is.  The reasons are various but many writer's like to feel their work stands alone from the day job.  For those fortunate enough not to have to work, a pseudonym is often still worthwhile as it allows an escape hatch into their ideas. 

At a Writer's Convention in Bristol, sat amongst other writer's I was surprised at how many people wrote under fictitious names.  The lady sat on my left hand side was a well known writer of romantic novels.  In the course of conversation it turned out she was also a fully qualified accountant working from home and her husband was a GP.  Living in a rural village in Cambridgeshire (I'll give no more away here!) she didn't want to be the focus of local gossip or bothered by people asking endless questions about her next book or plot.  She wanted to get on with her main day job (Accountant), her domestic life (wife to a GP and mother to two teenagers) and - oh - of course - a Writer too!

Behind me another lady - in a most resplendent hat - was a highly successful historical novelist.  Again, her 'writing' name was also a pseudonym and she is lucky enough to have a holiday cottage in Devon where she goes to write.  Her real home is several counties away.

Lots of writer's and poets adopt another name to free them up from any expectations.  After all, Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt and Philippa Carr were one and the same person.  William Trevor is really William Trevor Cox.  Even Elena Ferrante is another author by another name but nobody knows who.  She (or he) has created a modern Italian mystery by hiding their real identity.

Am I Ruth Snell?  In some ways yes, although several of you will know me as someone else.

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