Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Also Known As

Saturday, April 7, is the tenth annual Write of Spring at the wonderful, Mystery Writers of America Raven Award Winning, mystery book store, Once Upon A Crime. Minnesota crime authors will attend in staggered blocks all day long. My group’s session starts at 1 pm. There will also be on sale a new anthology, Writes of Spring, put together by Pat and Gary, owners of Once Upon A Crime, and featuring stories by authors who have come to the annual event. I’ve got a short story in it, written as Mary Monica Pulver. I have my author’s copy of the book, and am pleased to be in such terrific company. The bookstore is donating the proceeds to the Memorial Blood Centers. The event will also mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the bookstore.

Mary Monica Pulver is my maiden name and the name I used when I first turned pro. My father was dying of bone cancer and I wanted to get something published under the family name. I made it, but barely, selling a couple of stories to Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. Later I sold five mystery novels under that name, and more short stories. My husband and I sold some short stories we wrote together as Al and Mary Kuhfeld. Then a friend and I started a collaboration as Margaret Frazer, writing six novels in the Dame Frevisse medieval mystery series – she continued the series on her own when the collaboration broke up and is currently writing a spin-off series about a set of wandering play-actors. And I am writing the Betsy Devonshire needlework mysteries as Monica Ferris. It sounds a bit complicated, but it all evolved naturally.

Pseudonyms are rather fun. One of my new favorite mysteries is a mother-son collaboration written under the name Charles Todd. I was wildly fond of Donald E. Westlake’s Dortmunder series, but he had another, much darker, series under a different name I didn’t like at all. I understand there are authors who write one kind of novel under one name and a very different kind – erotica – under another. What name might you choose if you were writing hard-boiled noir? Romance? Science fiction? Vampire? Western? Erotica?


Linda O. Johnston said...

Sounds like a delightful event, Monica--or whatever your name is at this moment! Kudos to Once Upon a Crime, too.

So far, I've kept my own name but am not always sure that's the best thing since I write in different genres. Maybe someday I'll become someone else, too.

Linda O. Johnston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Monica Ferris said...

Pseudonyms can be fun as well as useful. If I were to try my hand at romance, I think I'd call myself Fancy Feathers. Western: Dusty Rhoades. Science Fiction: Hailey Comet. Noir thriller: Dar K. Alley. Vampire: Redd Knight.

Your turn.

nancy curteman said...

Mary Monica Pulver. What a lovely tribute to your father.

Mollie Cox Bryan said...

From what I understand, publishers ask for you to use other names when you are writing in different genres. I wonder if it really matters to readers at all.

Betty Hechtman said...

I wrote my first book, Blue Schwartz and Neferitit's Necklace under all my names - Betty Jacobson Hechtman. But when I got the deal for the crochet mysteries, my agent suggested I cut it down to one last name as she said the two last name thing confused people and made it harder for them to find your books.