Writers and secret identities

Sunday, Oct 7th, 2007 @ 11:45 am

I’m going to tell you a secret.  Well, it’s not really a secret because I’ve never tried to hide it, but one of my dear readers recently emailed me, expressing some hurt that I haven’t been completely honest with him about my real name.  And it got me thinking about how, yes, some readers (especially the wonderful ones who regularly post comments here) might feel miffed that I’ve not been completely open about who I am.  So now it’s time to tell you.

My real name isn’t Tess, but Terry.

I never really meant “Tess” as a secret identity.  I took on the name way back when my first romance novel, CALL AFTER MIDNIGHT, was about to be published.  Since “Terry” was considered a masculine spelling, my editor was concerned that readers might think the author was a man — and romance readers want books written by women.  My name caused some confusion in the hospitals too, because when I showed up on the wards, the nurses confessed they were expecting a “blonde Scandinavian guy” — Terry Gerritsen not sounding in the least bit Chinese or female.  So to make sure my readers knew I was female, I feminized my name to “Tess,” and went on to write nine romances under that name.

When I moved into thriller-writing, I wanted to bring my romance fans along for the ride.  Which meant keeping the name I’d established for myself.  So “Tess” has remained my nom de plume ever since.  It also turned out to be a handy way of knowing whether a communication was personal or professional.  If a phone call or letter came addressed to “Tess”, I’d know it was about business.  If it came addressed to “Terry,” it was personal.

I’ve had this double identity for twenty years now, and I’ve forgotten who knows me by which name.  So whenever I get emails, I never know how to sign off.  Tess or Terry?  To avoid confusion, my default is to sign it as Tess.  And now my acquaintances and neighbors are completely flummoxed about how to address me.  The truth is, I’ll answer to either name.  So if you know me as Terry, and I answer as Tess, believe me, I’m not trying to hide a thing.  I’m just confused.

(I’d make a lousy spy.)

This whole Tess/Terry thing got me thinking about writers’ pseudonyms in general, and why writers would want to adopt a fake name.  And I can think of plenty of reasons for a nom de plume.  It’s always a surprise to me when I’ve known a writer for years, and then suddenly discover she’s got another identity.  Often, we’ll just come right out and tell each other.  Other times, I learn it through a mutual friend or agent.  Either way, I can almost always understand immediately why she’d choose to change her name.  And here are some of the reasons:

Your real name is too long, too hard to spell, or too ethnic.  

Yes, these are valid reasons why a writer might want to change her name.  A long name means you’re forced to have it appear in smaller print on the book cover, when you want it to be as visible as possible. A hard-to-spell name means readers will have a difficult time looking you up on Amazon, or in a bookstore computer.  My own name, for instance, is a killer to spell.  It looks deceptively easy, but there are a lot of different ways to misspell Gerritsen.  (Gerritson.  Garretson.  Geritsen.  Gerriston.  Gerristen, etc.)  I won’t name names, but I know at least half a dozen writers who had to shorten their names or “anglicize” them for the American market.

The odd thing is, in foreign markets, you may also want to anglicize your name.  David Baldacci, for instance, was asked by his Italian publisher to change his name to something less Italian.  My Dutch publisher asked me to change my name to something less Dutch.  It seems that local writers, abroad at least, get no respect from their own countries.

You want to hide your gender

If you’re a man writing romance novels, you’ll probably want a woman’s name.  (And yes, there are male romance-writers.)  If you’re a woman trying to appeal across gender lines, you may want to adopt first initials only.  JK Rowling and PD James are prime examples.  Right now, I’m toying with the idea of writing a young adult series featuring the Mephisto Club, and I’m wondering if it should be written under the name “T.T. Gerritsen,” so that boys will pick it up. 

You hate your real name

One writer I know in the UK hates her real name so much that she didn’t want it on any book cover.  In fact, when I let slip the fact I knew her real name, she was quite annoyed — much to my surprise, as I think her real name is gorgeous.  

You want to protect your professional life

Let’s face it, novel writing is not always considered a “respectable” profession, and some writers who also maintain jobs in academic circles feel the need to write under fake names.  A doctor may want to keep his patients from knowing he’s writing gory medical thrillers.  A journalist may want to avoid ridicule for those racy romance novels she writes.  An award-winning writer friend of mine keeps her writing career secret because she doesn’t want her academic colleagues to know she’s exaggerating the goings-on of their profession a bit, for the sake of a good plot. 

You write in more than one genre 

A writer who writes both science fiction as well as traditional mysteries may well adopt different pen names for each genre.  Nora Roberts, for instance, took on the name J.D. Robb for her “In death” futuristic novels.  Readers don’t always cross genres, and you don’t want to confuse or disappoint them by writing such different books under the same name.

You want to hide a prior poor sales record

This may be the one of the most commor reasons for an author to suddenly switch names.  If your books have a bad track record, the bookstore chains know it.  In their computers, your name is forever linked to poor sales, and no matter how great your next book is, the stores are not going to order it in large quantities based on your earlier sales.  Sometimes, the only way to escape the curse of a bad-selling book is to change your name and start off fresh (on bookstore computers, anyway.)  If you later become incredibly successful with your new name, your old books may be re-released with your new author name on them.

Those are just a few reasons I can think of.  I’m sure there are others. 

Now, a few links of interest:

A recent interview by Wordsmith’s Books, plus my blogpost on their website.

And today’s review in the Maine Sunday Telegram of THE BONE GARDEN, in which critic John Robinson focuses on the true and bloody medical history behind the book.

49 Responses to “Writers and secret identities”

  1. dustinhood says:

    Wow, “Terry” I never would have guessed that you were under a pseudo name, but I guess that is the idea of it though. And as for the YA series your thinking about, it would sell good, I think. Teens today love Science Fantasy stuff and The Mephisto Club was somewhat under those guidelines. For me, Sci-Fi is a shut off for me, I hate it. But, I’m sure that if it is by you, then I will read it. I love anything that you write. Although, I have not read your romances yet, I have two of them sitting on my bookself, the two-in-one book. Well, it was nice to know your real name. But, I’m going to keep calling you Tess, I think it fits you better, maybe that’s because that’s all I know you by. Talk to you later, Tess.

    Dustin Hood, 15 (16 the 18th :))

  2. childofthewilderness says:

    that’s unique, for me usually the real name represents official stuff. but then i hate my name and i intend to legally change it, i guess, to something more universal and less blatantly ethnic grrrr.

  3. ZanyMom says:

    I’ve always disliked my name (fairly monosyllabic, easy for kids to make up nasty rhymes, LOL)and I’ve often thought of writing under a pseudonym for that reason.

    I think my name is quite boring and I’m not sure it would help sales. That said, it’s close to a soon-to-be published author, and maybe if he’s immensely successful, I’ll keep mine so we can be shelved together. ;)

  4. Joshua James says:

    I have a secret identity as well, from back when I began writing plays . . . in Iowa I’m known by one name, the rest of the world another.

    I finally changed it legally this year, before our son was born, so there’d be little confusion . . . and to be honest, I always hated my birth name, which made it easy.

    Thanks for this story.

  5. Craig says:

    For those of us who have blogged with you for some time, this is not news. You were “exposed” some time back. Out here in the southwest (and just how did Oklahoma become southwest?) Terry is gender neutral. The first crush I had on a girl was one named Terrence and that was in Kansas. Off hand I can’t think of any other authors named Tess and for me the spelling of “Gerritsen” is unique. I think you made a wise move. Besides, Tess is a lovely name. I do wonder, however, what would have happened had you changed to “Tess” after your move from romance to thrillers. Would your first publisher be able to pull the cheap stunts it’s been pulling? You could do the opposite of Perri O’Shaughnessy if you wanted to dabble in romance again. You could be twin sisters Tess and Terry (the romance writer) Gerritsen but I’d replace the y with an i–Terri Gerritsen. :-) But honestly you might want to consider something different if you want to reach teenage boys. It was a local author, Jean Hager, who showed me just exactly what a woman was able to do in the mystery genre 10 years ago and from that point on gender simply wasn’t an issue for me, but, again, I’m an adult. The Bone Garden is by far your finest effort. (Body Double is your scariest) The lessons here are: 1) Be a terrific writer who agonizes over the manuscript; 2) Don’t be afraid to take a different path every once in a while; your readers will follow you. Give Jane a rest and let her have some time with her little one. 3)To ensure your place on the Times bestseller list, get panned by Publishers Weekly. (The week you hit the top ten must have been extra sweet for you.)

  6. GerritsenFever10 says:

    Dr. Terry!! That is too much! Not to be ugly, but I think I like Tess better, it suits your attitude…you just don’t sound/write like a ‘Terry’….I don’t know how to make that sound like it makes sense, but in my brain it does haha. But if you’re okay with Tess or Terry then I’ll still call you Dr. G, so either way it’s fine haha.

  7. JD Rhoades says:

    Another reason: Your publisher thinks your real name doesn’t fit the genre you’re writing. Mine felt that “Dusty Rhoades” didn’t sound serious enough. So I write under the initials of my birth certificate name: J.D. Rhoades.

  8. april says:

    I think it would be confusing. I always liked the idea of being a famous author and getting to choose my own name, but I don’t think I ever could. As it was, I never changed my name after marriage.

    On a sidenote, totally off-topic, my mom and I went to the Bodies exhibit and I found it a great companion to The Bone Garden. It was really fascinating to see especially from a non-medical background.

  9. l.c.mccabe says:

    Tess,

    I wanted to give you two anecdotal data points to give you an idea of how well “The Bone Garden” is selling.

    I went to one of my local bookstores the other night to a reading by Gail Tsukiyama and tried to pick up a copy of your book.

    No dice. It was sold out.

    I also ordered a copy online from B&N.com for my father’s birthday present. It said they had stock and that it would ship.

    Two days later I received an email saying that the shipment was delayed. I haven’t heard anything back since.

    I’m assuming that they Do Not Have Enough Stock To Meet Demand.

    Thought you’d like to know.

    Linda

  10. thesussman says:

    Tess,

    Thanks for allowing me to interview you for the Wordsmiths Books website and for writing the guest blogpost. We’ve known each other for 11 years, but I never knew about your “double life.” :)

    –Mike (or The Suss-Man to my friends)

  11. knaster says:

    Hi Tess,

    Whenever I meet someone for the first time, and tell them my name is Abe, they immediately ask me if it’s short for Abraham. I tell them 2 things. First, that no, my name is Abe and not Abraham, and secondly, (thanks to a line from Archie Bunker) “…a Jewish name ain’t supposed to have no ‘ham’ in it.”
    I also noticed that when you answered my last email, you signed it “T”. That makes it more friendlier.
    Whether you go by Terry or Tess, your fans love you just the same.
    Thanks “T”.
    Abe

  12. Kyle K. says:

    So, would “T.T.” be a play off Terry/Tess, or does your middle name begin with a T as well?

    You know, I’ve known about your first name for a while now. I think you mentioned it during your visit to Gary’s class at Northeastern. I’d forgotten about it, though, so had more of an “Oh yeah!” than a “Whoa!” moment…!

    Also, to add to Linda M. above, the B&N in the Prudential center had TBG on display, not just in one, but THREE different places in the store! Front table, your usual spot on the shelf, and another shelf by the cafe! It must be flying for them to put out so many…!!

  13. Kyle K. says:

    Oh yeah, and you’re #6 on the EW bestseller list! Congrats!

  14. Tess says:

    So many nice comments! Thanks, Linda and Kyle for the bookstore reports! And Kyle, the TT would indeed be my first and middle names. (I use my maiden name, “Tom” for my middle name.)

    So many little secrets I’m revealing lately!

    Abe, thanks for the laugh about “ham” in Abraham!

  15. Tom Young says:

    reminds me of a funny story, my ex and pretty much her entire family didn’t know that her grandfather Gilbert’s first name was actually George until his death. He hated the name George and always went by his middle name Gilbert, and told no one, nope even his kids knew

    Then again how many years did I think Robin Cook was a female since I bought my first 5 books by him from thrift stores and the covers were missing….

    Love the books another year for the next… *sigh*

  16. joe bernstein says:

    “tess”is a great name for a romance writer-and terry probably isn’t-using a pen nmae is no big deal-it’s the writer’s business-ed mcbain is also evan hunter,a name taken from his high school(evander childs)and college(hunter,which i also attended for a while),but he’s not ed mcbain either-i don’t recall his true name ,but it is italian(he has sadly passed away)-the irs allows some of its agents to use aliases to protect them in their personallives-my agency did not and a drug dealer i arrested gave a detention officer a description of my house and my wife and swore she would be killed if he were not released-needless to say,it was taken seriously and i had to send my wife and kids out of town for some time while we rounded up his friends and family members who were involved-bottom line:my wife and children(now adults) are all ok and this individual and his three brothers are all out of the picture(legally,don’t get any wrong ideas)but i wish i could’ve used an alias because they just looked me up in the phone book-this was back in the early 80′s but i still remember it very vividly

  17. John S says:

    Duane Swierczynski has mentioned on his blog that in Germany, his books are published under the name of Duane Louis, and Lisa Scottoline’s appear as being by Lisa Scott. That comes under the first reason, doesn’t it?

    Tess, I met a fellow at the Maine Festibal of the Book at the library in Portland who referred to you as Terry Gerritsen. I’m glad I didn’t correct him!

  18. tuttle says:

    OMG!! You LIED to us all!!!
    I’ll never buy anymore of your books!

    I trust SOMEbody in the publishing offices is reading this because I am sure they just had their heart skip mentally calculating the lost revenue on your future bestsellers (especially if I go off and tell all my friends (especially my friends that READ BOOKS-) that you lied to us all…
    Oh, the humanity!

    Listen….it doesnt matter.

    Truth is….this sort of thing isnt limited to WRITERS.

    I was born in ’56 and legally my first name is Francis. Of course, these days Francis doesn’t really go over very well so I prefer Frank.

    And I bought your book BONE GARDEN because the plot sounds interesting and since I read MEPHISTO CLUB (and liked it alot) I knew spending 25 bucks on this new one was a pretty solid investment of my reading time.

    Isnt that the bottom line?
    (well, the next important item besides the ‘bottom line’ (sales))

  19. tuttle says:

    PLUS…..I’ve often wondered how many authors are out there who’ve written a good book ‘out of’ their chosen genre and really want to see it published and yet the publisher has BEGGED them to pick another name so as not to ruin their career….
    Heck, Stephen King did it.
    But then Richard Bachamn (if memory serves) was his CHOICE and it was simply because the publisher didn’t think anyone would buy TWO King books in one year. But King was writing so often the calendar couldn’t keep up with him!

  20. WJS says:

    LOL! Oh Terry, Tess, Terry, oh wait, Tess!?!

    There’s a good golly reason why I called you, Terry, in the last comment and in the past. You may not know me, but I have grown associated with you and your writings over the years.

    It gotten to the point where I felt that I know you up-close because of the amount of your thoughts, writings, and opinions that I have found so fascinating and helpful.

    For having that valuable experience, I want to strive for bring more respect to you more, so therefore I would and shall call you Terry as a personal favor.

    :) Tess, I would love to see if you can come down here to Florida for a book signing/promotion. Heck, I would also love to buy you a lunch! ^_^

    -Josh Simpson

  21. tessat says:

    I find it funny you mention that at a hospital, they expect you to be fair-skinned and Scandinavian.
    My name is Tessa and I work in customer service. I see a lot of people come through and hear interesting names. All the Tess or Tessa’s I’ve met have been blond, myself included. When people say(usually little girls around the age of 5), my name is Tessa too! I usually say, its uncanny that all of the Tessa’s I know of are blond.
    When I picked up your book in Germany, I bought it because it was the only book in English I could find. I really enjoyed your writing and bought all of your books online, had them shipped to me.
    A year or two later I stumbled upon your website and, I must confess, was a little surprise that you had dark hair. After that, I had to amend my saying to: its uncanny that almost all of the Tessa’s I know are blond!
    Now I can go back to my former statement. =)

  22. Rose-Marie says:

    Tess,
    The whole Tess-Terry thing — I like them both. I think Tess Gerritsen sounds a little harder edged than Terry Gerritsen (something about the alliteration of the rrs), but I think they both beat Terry Tom as a writer’s name. Terry Tom is pretty but it’s also cute, which makes it sound more like an actress’s name, or a cheerleader or cocktail waitress. (I expect it would have been fine as a doctor’s name, because then you would have been simply “Dr. Tom”.) Tess is also less common than Terry, but it’s not unusual, which again is a good combination. On the other hand, writing under Terry might have increased your male readership. Even grown men who ought to know better often seem to think that if the writer is female he’s going to be stuck with chick lit. I think that partially explains why the cover of one thriller I saw a couple of months ago had the writer’s last name in huge type, with her feminine first name printed in tiny type over it. The visual discrepancy was literally in the 80 to 90 percent range!

    But enough of that. Book sales report: At out local B&N here in Shreveport, Louisiana, I never did see The Bone Garden out on the front table. :-( The good news is that I saw it on the new books shelves. At first there were about three copies. I wasn’t sure what to think of that, but it would have been out for about a week at that point, so I thought perhaps it was good. A week or so later I was in the store again and there were about eight copies on two shelves. I interpret that as being excellent! I think they sold the earlier copies promptly and restocked generously, which is good news!

  23. Debbie says:

    Tess, Ive known you as “Tess” and “Terry.”
    Ive known you since before “Harvest” was published.
    I’ll take on a pen name when I submit my own writing, purely because I choose to. What happens after that? Who knows.
    I’ll probably choose something genderless in the beginning (and keeping it simple) and see which direction my agent takes me. I’m excited and afraid in the same breath.
    Great timing for the release of the Bone Garden…ie Halloween, Autumn.
    You’re a great writer.
    How wonderful too, your website that keeps you close to your readers.:-)

  24. struggler says:

    OK if it’s ‘coming out’ time, then I have a confession to make.

    My real name isn’t struggler

    ;)

  25. Dru says:

    Tess or Terry. It doesn’t matter to me because I’m still going to buy your books.

    Just finished The Bone Garden and I loved it.

  26. NewMexicanAnn says:

    Well, Terry, Tess, or Whatchername, I noticed the name thing a long time ago, but it never mattered. It’s the person behind the name who matters the most, and to paraphrase Shakespeare, “A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.”

    I had to phone a credentialing supervisor once, someone named Sean, and when a lady answered, I didn’t skip a beat, but I was blinking questioningly.

    My nom de plume if I ever use one… Scooby Doo! :) My closest friends call me Scoob anyway.

    Annie

  27. joe bernstein says:

    ann-i once knew three sisters(and dated two of them )named mary ann,cynthia and carlos-it turns out their father had a close friend named carlos who he promised to name a child after,and when it was obvious there would be no boys in the family,the youngest sister got stuck with the name(she’s the one i never went out with)

  28. Kyle K. says:

    Poor Carlos! She didn’t ask for that name…! Haha.

  29. John says:

    Struggler, that really made me laugh!
    Actually, I love reading your comments in general. Have you gotten any closer to having anything published yet? I’d be interested to know as I’d certainly like to read it.

  30. struggler says:

    Well John, I think I can say with absolute honesty that your message has made my day! As a struggling writer there could be no sweeter words than ‘I’d certainly like to read it’ – you’re not an agent by any chance, are you?! Anyway the painful answer is no, I’m no closer – but that’s mainly because I thought I was ready 3 or 4 years ago and now I realise I certainly wasn’t. By this I mean that I have learnt SO much in the intervening period that I feel hugely better prepared for all the stresses that lie ahead. Tess has been very helpful of course, and so many of her blogs are spot-on topical it’s almost as if I asked her to raise this or that issue. And guess what – I still can’t decide whether or not to use my real name (which is double-barrelled, part Japanese and contains 22 letters!) or use a non-de-plume!

  31. NewMexicanAnn says:

    struggler: 1.) Well, dear, I like Japanese names! I heard the pronunciation is just like Spanish.

    2.) You’re not a writer if you’re using a non-de-plume! *giggles*

  32. I’ve been asked at signings if I chose the last name Roberts so my books would be next to Nora’s. I really chose it because it came with the man I married LOL.

  33. ec says:

    A lot of people derive inspiration from this blog; here’s another story to toss into the mix. I’m currently making a genre move and will be splitting my time between urban fantasy and historical fiction, and I’ve been contempating using another name for historical fiction to differentiate from my fantasy books. But I never could come up with a name that worked for me. TG’s post prompted me to reGoogle, and this time I found the perfect pseudonym. I an vastly tickled. :)

  34. ec says:

    Oops–my fingers stumbled. I’ve been typing like a fiend all morning and they’re pooped. That should be “I am vastly tickled.”

  35. Yingko2 says:

    I found this blog fascinating as I write in two genres, horror and western, under two different names Howard Hopkins and Lance Howard. But my western penname happens also to be my middle name, which everybody on my mother’s side calls me, while everybody on my father’s side uses my first name. Lots of folks have gotten confused, either not knowing what to call me or thinking I was two different people. :) Wonderful blog entry.
    Howard

  36. A rose by any other name…

    I wonder if anyone has gotten stuck with a pseudonym they absolutely hated and wanted to kill off? Like getting stuck with an awful nickname like Stinky or Lumpy and having to leave town to start fresh…

  37. therese says:

    I chose my “name” at the age of 12 when I decided to be a writer. My birth name was as exciting as Jane Smith. Then I married an ethnic name that is often mispronounced as “septic” – potty jokes anyone?

    I’ve held my writer “name” so passionately in my heart for so many years, I will use no other. And if my husband of 27 years doesn’t shape up soon – it may be the only one I use! LOL!

  38. vivien says:

    It never occurred to me that Tess was a pseudonym though I can certainly see the rational for changing Terry for Tess in your early career.

    Speaking of which I wanted just to post a note of appreciation for your publisher, S. Walker, posting on amazon.co.uk about the fact that your early novels such as ‘In Their Footsteps’ were published by Mira/Mills&Boon.

    When I’d reviewed one of these early novels for my blog, I had made the comment the lead felt like she’d fallen out of a Mills & Boon novel. I still enjoyed the book as a light read but I much prefer your later work.

    I’ve one book (non-fiction) to my name and I had that published under my given name, even though folk considered that I might have changed to Vivienne from something less fancy.

    Vivienne
    (who messed up her email address on her first registration)

  39. maatlockk says:

    woah, i never knew. o.o terry gerritsen.

    well, if i were to become a writer, i would DEFINITELY adopt a pseudonym. my real name is (get ready for this…) Dayangku Syarizat binti Awang Kasumajaya.

    because of my muslim religion, i have to have my father’s name at the end of mine. so if i ever do anything bad, and my name shows up in the papers, my father’s name would follow. hence the whole ‘you brought shame to your family/father’s name” thing. (its depressing…)

    I might adopt a completely different surname. but i’ll just shorten my first me to ‘Izat’, or ‘Ika’ (my student code), or as my boyfriend calls me, Shar.

    Terry Gerritsen. Wow, i never would have known.

    :D

    looking forward to The Bone Garden!

  40. DanaKaye says:

    I was talking with one author who said he picked his penname soley because it’s “browsable”. He said that statistically, book buyers browse from A to Z, so it’s beneficial to have your last name at the front of the alphabet. I had never thought of that…

  41. John says:

    Struggler – sadly no, I’m not an agent (neither of literature nor of the government) I am merely a big fan of Dr Terry G. I am a reader of all things criminal and fictional, and I am a humble GP when I have the time. Inside me, however, is what I like to think of as a novel. One day I’d like to write said novel – but I’m going to have to wait ’til my 2 girls are older; I suspect it may be tricky to get the time and the permission to sneak off and write at this juncture. 4 or 5 years from now though…….?

  42. jodylove says:

    Tess, I know that this is not going to fit with the post, but I have two questions. I tried to contact you, but when I click the contact link, all I see is: “you can contact Tess via her e-mail address,” but there is no actuall address there. So that’s my first question (it’s a compound): Why is there no address, how can we contact you via e-mail if we don’t know it, and what is it? My second question is…Are you going to write another book for the Rizzoli series? I was hooked after I turned the first page of The Surgeon (actually, I had it on audiobook, because I am almost totally blind. I have a special program that allows me to use the PC). Like I said, I know that this isn’t exactly the correct place for this, but I searched the blog, and I couldn’t find somewhere that seemed more appropriate. If you would prefer to e-mail me directly, my address is: jwmckinniss@triad.rr.com
    Thanks…love your books!!!

  43. knaster says:

    Did any of you know that when Tess wote the screenplay for “Adrift” in 1993 (starring Kate Jackson) she used the name Terry Gerritsen?
    Here’s proof:

    Terry Gerritsen
    ——————————————————————————–

    Filmography

    Writer:
    Adrift (1993) (TV) (also story)

  44. struggler says:

    Hi Tesserry (?)

    Just had to let you know that I have just (as of 5 minutes ago) taken delivery of THE BONE GARDEN from Amazon.com – i.e. from the USA and not my native UK where the release date is January 2008. I couldn’t wait that long so I ordered it from across the pond. Haven’t read a word yet apart from your acknowledgements, but I must say the book smells nice. Needless to add it will go straight to the top of my towering TBR pile! So thank you for writing this novel Tess, thank you for the entertainment I’m sure it will bring.

  45. Gabriele says:

    My online identity – Gabriele Campbell – is a pen name already. For one, my family name has one of those German umlauts that always get butchered, and second, I don’t want my academica career mixed up with my – hopefully to be – writing career.

    I could imagine to change Gabriele into a more gender neutral name like Arran to sell historical fiction with a strong military leaning or Sword and Sorcery, but I won’t use it as online identity (except maybe a website, but I’d put a link to my ‘real’ online persona and my blog somewhere).

  46. Bone Garden had a beautiful display at my local Chapters store in Vancouver. Now the display has one less :)

  47. Debbie says:

    Yes, Knaster, I knew about the screenplay “Adrift.”
    I don’t think I’ve seen the movie.
    I’d like to see it sometime.

  48. knaster says:

    Thanks, Debbie. It just goes to show that Tess is an all-around phenom!

  49. Meike says:

    People make strange selections when they’re buying a book. “she’s not Dutch – honestly” used to be my sales pitch back in the days when I was a lowly book store employee.

    On the other hand, I can imagine Karin Slaughter, while in possesion of the most appropriate surname possible, gets tired of having to explain that yes, that *is* her real name.

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