Lately, pen names have been on the mind. I always thought they were sort of strange--with the internet, is a pen name really necessary to separate genres?--but as of late I've come to realize that for me, at least, it is.
My first passion and love as a reader--and writer--was LDS fiction. This love goes all the way back to the second or third grade. But as I have more clearly defined my career goals over the last few years, I have come to realize that while I still love LDS fiction, most of the stories I want to tell are really for the national market. And I'm really excited about that. However, that being said, there are still stories that I really want to write with overtly LDS themes.
I've thought about this a lot lately. I write all of my LDS fiction assuming the reader is LDS (a common trend in the market), or at least very familiar with the church. I don't explain the LDS vocabulary, I don't explain LDS customs, and I don't explain LDS doctrine. Because of this, I think my LDS novels would be very confusing reads for those not familiar with the church (which is the majority of the national market).
I've felt Heavenly Father guiding me as a writer the last few months, and I really feel creating a pen name for my LDS novels is the best way to handle this dilemma. I'm not trying to keep LDS readers from my national fiction, or non-LDS readers from my LDS novels. I just want to make sure that when someone picks up one of my books, they know what kind of a book they are getting. Basically, I don't want those not familiar with the church confused.
In that vein, my LDS fiction is definitely clean, and so is my national fiction. Some stories--like Wishing on Baby Dust--just aren't the same if I take the church out of them, thus the differentiation.
I'm not going to keep the two pen names separate on social media; I just don't have that kind of time and energy. Besides, I really want people to know both names are me, but just differentiate markets. I have created a blog for Lydia Winters, but it will just redirect you here since I'll only be posting on this one. I will still only maintain (or attempt to maintain) my current twitter account and Facebook page. Basically, not much is changing. :)
Lydia Winters is the pseudonym I've picked for my LDS fiction. Both names have importance and meaning to me, and I absolutely love the name. However, I love my "real" name too, and I'm so happy I can now use both!
I'd love to hear others thoughts on the matter. Do you love or hate pen names? If you use one, what made you decide to?