So, what’s in a name?
When I write fiction, I feel like an entirely different person, certainly not the same individual who writes the projects that I write for other people. There’s a separation in my mind. Healthy? I don’t know, but there’s the fiction writing me, and there’s the writing books for other people me, and the two feel very separate.
Which is why I always imagined that when I finally wrote a novel, I’d write it under a different name, a pseudonym, something like Shawn Merrill (Merrill is actually my first name). Why?
1 – It feels like a different person writing, so a different name feels appropriate.
2 – I’d like to keep a soft line between the writing I do for other people and the writing I do for myself. What if I write something in my fiction that turns people off from using me to write their nonfiction?
3 – The novels I write are not “Christian.” Ugh. I hate using that term to describe writing, or books, or music, but it’s how people talk about these things. I think I’d feel more free to write the fiction I want to write if it wasn’t as closely tied to the writing I’ve already done, which has been mostly Christian memoirs.
4 – If someone loved my fiction and looked up my author page, I don’t think they’d be interested in reading the nonfiction that I’ve written. And probably vice versa.
On the other hand, someone I was talking to recently discouraged me from using a pen name. She said that the world needed more Christians writing “secular” fiction, and that I should embrace the tension.
What do you think?