Authors and Pen Name Options

Hey, romance addicts, it is your friendly stoker of flame.  I’ve been very busy writing for the wonderful Savage Bloodline mafia romance collection, the Voyage of the Heart Sydney collection, and the fourth book in the Brothers in Law series, Drowning in Shallow Waters. I decided to take a break from story writing so that I could post on this week’s open-book blog hop. Let’s look at this week’s question. 

 Did you write under a pseudonym? Why?

I do write under the pseudonym, Lyndell Williams. I have found it necessary to have a pen name because I do so many different things with my writing. In addition to writing novels, I am a journalist and contribute to multiple online platforms, I edit books, and I have my romance scholarly work published in peer-reviewed journals. So, one name is not enough. 

I decided early on that I wanted to avoid my works getting muddled. I didn’t want readers to have to determine whether they were reading the storyteller, the cultural critic, or the journalist. Maintaining a pen name for my romances is a way for me to ensure that readers get the love and passion they expect from Lyndell Williams. 

Authors may decide to use pen names for a variety of reasons, not just for anonymity. I know of many romance authors who have multiple pen names.  They use them to make distinctions between the type of romances that they are writing, because, oftentimes, there are certain expectations attached to an author’s name. For example, when readers see the name “Lyndell Williams,” they know it’s going to be an emotionally gratifying romance with sensual scenes that range in explicitness. If I decide to write something with fewer sensual scenes, then I would have to strongly consider a different pen name. Readers do not expect a sweet romance from Lyndell Williams. 

Many of my “one-click” readers do so anticipating that there will be sensual scenes. I do not want to disappoint them, but sometimes, a story’s plot or characters are not on the trajectory to an explicit description in the bedroom. I know that if I decide to publish sweet romances, I would do so under another pen name. 

I just started a new WIP notebook for a suspense thriller. I have been tossing up a pseudonym for that because it is rare for an author to be able to transition their readership across genres, not impossible but rare. 

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that one of my favorite romance authors, Selena Montgomery (AA politician, lawyer, voting rights activist) is author Stacy Abrams. She recently released a book outside of the romance genre, a suspense thriller, While Justice Sleeps, which she published under her actual name

Storytellers do just that—tell stories. Genres categorize books, not writers, at least not in every instance. So, those venturing between them may use pseudonyms to keep all of their story ducks in a row and as a way of maintaining balance in their writing a plethora of works.  

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