The Super Secret Writing Identity…

I’ve mentioned it before, but I write with a pen name.  This doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be easy for someone to figure out who I really was if they just did a little footwork… It does mean that I have a Super Secret (not so secret) Writing Identity, much like Clark Kent and Superman.

However, I’ve been filing out interview questions for my upcoming tour for Dark Cotillion.  Several have asked about the pen name: Why do you use one?  Is it difficult to maintain?  Have you ever considered republishing under your real name?  

The first is always the easiest.  I use it because it insulates me, the real me… Not the Hadena James of the writing world, but the me behind the books.  I need that insulator, because the real me is shy.

The second is much harder.  My mom is a fan of my page.  My mother-in-law is a fan of my page.  My SO is a fan of my page (however, he refuses to read my books… the other two read them religiously).  I’ve sent emails to readers using my personal email by accident instead of my HJ email.  When I buy anything through PayPal, my real name gets sent to the seller.  Once I signed a book with my real name without thinking about it.  I’ve had friends slip up and say “hey my friend _____ wrote this book, you have to read it.”  This is really confusing for the person the book is being recommended to because the names aren’t the same.  Also, some of my friends have accidentally posted my real name on the HJ page when responding to a post.  So, yes, it is hard to maintain, but at the same time, not so hard.  It’s complicated to walk the line between me and Hadena.  We are the same person.  Everything that happens to her has happened to me, Hadena just tells it better.

The third is even more difficult.  No, I have never considered publishing under my real name.  Yes, I have considered publishing thrillers and horror novels under a man’s name.  I find men sell better than women in my genre of hardcore crime thrillers with lots of blood, guts, and gore.  Then I think about it and realize that if I were to publish under a man’s name, I’d just continue to perpetuate the cycle of women being considered inferior thriller writers.  I can be just as violent as the men, sometimes more so… Occasionally, I have to question myself about being too gory, but that’s what content editors are for… a great example is the next Cain novel… Eating people alive with killer’s chapters.  That’s going to be interesting.  Especially since I’ve put a very gruesome twist into it.  It will probably be my most horrific novel yet.  Of course, I’m always capable of outdoing myself, so I’m sure sometime down the road, I’ll find something even more awesomely gross than eating people alive (and I already have the idea in my head, heaven help us all).


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  1. Lots of authors use pen names for numerous different reasons…If I ever got disciplined enough to sit down and attempt to write a book – I know I would have to use a pen name and keep that persona very separate from the real me because I sincerely doubt that anyone in my family would 1)read my work 2) approve of my writing style/genre choice……so I applaud you for keeping the two separate. You need to be able to be you when you want to be:)



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