Adopting a pen name is lot like marrying it. No, you don't have to pick up your significant other's socks off the floor after the honeymoon is over, but you do have to move from managing one identity to two--in my case THREE identities.
I was born and raised Erin Roxanne Grady. At the time I was growing up, no one had ever heard the name Erin and I was teased relentlessly (Urine, was a favorite variation of the playground bullies). By kindergarten, I'd decided to be done with Erin and told everyone to call me Roxy. That didn't last though, because my parents wouldn't go for it and it only gave my brother fodder to torment me with. When I turned 20 I tried again and decided to change my name to Joey. I don't know why. I just did. I went by Joey for about 4 years. (I might add, that Joey was very slim and always felt glamorous. At the time I was a bartender and lived a very noir life. Whoever said it's all in a name had that right).
When I met my husband, I reverted back to Erin (partly because I'd just moved to California and in with my folks again and partly because it took a lot of energy to be Joey and with my move from Colorado to California, I wanted to make some changes). After a year or two of dating, I married Rick Alcaraz and became Erin Alcaraz. Erin Alcaraz had a respectable job at SDSU and has gone on to have a great career in Arizona at Intel. She's done awright for herself.
But then Erin Grady wanted to right a book and even through the years of name changing, Erin Grady always knew her name would be on a cover some day. It felt weird answering to Grady again after being Alcaraz for several years, but I made the transition okay. I've become used to the split personality.
When I sold my last book (and for those who aren't in this crazy profession, by sold I mean that an editor at a publishing house offered to buy the book and publish it) the discussion began about who I should be and once again, a new identity came into my life.
The name that will be on the cover of BENEATH THE RUINS is Erin Quinn. Why, you might ask? Well because BENEATH THE RUINS is a bigger (by that I don't mean longer, I just mean more complex) novel than I've ever written and my publisher felt that it needed to be launched--launched as something fresh and new. Since my other books (although award winners all) never hit any bestseller lists, the feeling was that it wouldn't hurt to make this change.
At first I had ambivalent feelings. I'd grown to like good ol' Erin Grady and I didn't want to see her go. But then the bright shiny idea of being someone new took root and I began to get on board with it. You see, ERIN QUINN can be whoever she wants and I've decided that she will be the best of all my identities. She's going to have the career success and acumen of Erin Alcaraz, she will have the energy and glamor of Joey Grady, and she will have the recognition and awards of Erin Grady. What's more, she'll have a new palette to work with! It's exciting.
So, look for great things from Erin Quinn. :-)