I am two people. That is a fact now and no longer a gimmick. Sharon is still the woman who takes care of her son, types in an attic office and looks forward to Tuesday nights and the last Saturday of every month for some alone time with her beloved Alex. There is really very little else in my life other than that.
Lacey is no longer a figment of my imagination. Lacey has over 3,000 Twitter followers, has sold quite a few cozy mysteries over the summer and has a beauty and lingerie blog nobody reads. But when I was out shopping not so long ago, I met someone who only knows me as Lacey and he called me by that name. I was standing in the mail room at work and a co-worker greeted me as Lacey in jest. It feels very strange, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that Lacey Dearie actually does exist now.
A short time ago I considered changing my pen-name altogether. The idea of another fresh start appealed to me, just as it had done in November 2011 when I invented Lacey. I had previous lives before, as Daisy and Emmeline to name a couple. I liked moving on. The idea of doing it again feels right. But could I really leave Lacey behind?
The answer is, I don’t think I can. Yes, leaving her behind would mean a new start and the chance to have a clean slate again. It would also mean saying goodbye to all the good things that have happened in the last two years. Killing off Daisy and Emmeline wasn’t a problem because nobody was interested in them other than my inner circle. I now feel I’ve worked too hard and had too much success with my current pseudonym to change.
A few people asked me why I chose the name Lacey Dearie. The answer is simple. Dearie was my paternal grandmother’s maiden name. Of all my grandparents’ last names, (Millar, Wardrop, Dearie and Dick) I thought Dearie was the prettiest. It wasn’t a particular homage to my Gran. I didn’t favour her over anyone else in my family and I have no idea how she would feel about her name being used. She might be a bit pissed off. I just thought it was pretty and suited a chick-lit writer. Lacey was one of the top 10 baby names in Scotland in 2011 and that proved that women of child-bearing age were attracted to the name which was handy as they were my target audience. My second choice was Chloe, if for any reason I wasn’t able to use Lacey.
There are times when I look in the mirror and see a short, flat chested, dowdy, bespectacled, mousy woman and I laugh because I look nothing like the character I have turned Lacey into. It’s not like I change in a phone box and turn from Clark Kent into Superman (or the female equivalent – I can’t think of who that might be) but I do feel like a transformation happens as soon as I sit at my computer to write. For the foreseeable future, Lacey lives but there are still times when I feel like a fraud.
If you are a writer, how did you choose your pen name? If you aren’t, what would your pen name be?