Okay... while Draft One of my sci-fi novel, 'The Renegades: Redemption' sits and stews for a while, I've started another one. Well, it keeps me off the streets, doesn't it..? Anyway, this one is a childrens' fantasy novel, and is completely different from Renegades in the same way that Joyce Grenfell's humour is completely different from Frankie Boyle's. Which has got me thinking, for the first time, about the thorny issue of Pen Names.
Y'see, my sci-fi novel is very 'adult.' No, NOT in the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' sense - but certainly not the sort of thing they'd consider televising on CBBC any time soon, if you catch my drift. If, in the magical world of Dreams Come True, it gets published with one name attached, I'm going to have to think about using an alternative name for any kid's books I write - purely to avoid the scenario of some innocent mum going into a bookshop and thinking "Ooh look, a Wendy Christopher novel. She wrote that jolly tale about the king of Avalaff that my little Tyler liked so much - I think I'll buy this 'Renegades' one for his seventh birthday..." You know what I mean. Don't want to be accused of corrupting the nation's youth.
So... how do I want to play this? Which genre would I want my real name on, and which one the pen name?
And no, before you ask, I would not do that thing where an author has "Jenny Bloggs writing as Matilda Saucebucket" or whatever. I've never understood that. I mean, I understand a writer wanting to write novels in different genres under different names, so as not to be pigeonholed... but surely announcing the fact on the front of your books just makes you seem like you have sort of multiple personality disorder? Isn't it a bit like an undercover policeman turning up to his 'case' in full disguise - and then lifting up his fake beard in front of the crims and going "Woo-hoo! It's me all along - did you guess? Oh whoops - sorry, just pretend you never saw that..!"
So no - if I'm going to use more than one name, I won't be listing them all on the front of my books like some sort of Pick Your Own Alt-Fest. I will be using them purely for the altogether higher purposes of deception and subterfuge.
This is of course, assuming that ANY of my novels get published. I have to have the attitude that they will, because otherwise my confidence will crumble like a sandcastle and I will just give up on my writing dreams and - in all probability - go completely insane, which is not something people approve of in suburban Maidstone.
So I'm bigging up my own ego for entirely altruistic reasons. I'm glad we got that cleared up.