Updated: Aug 22, 2022
This is my very first ever blog post so bear with me... my brain is a maze, but I always get there...
Most authors (published writers) and writers ('normal' people who write) will tell you, putting pen to paper is likely not the end of the story. In attempting to get my debut novel off the ground, I can tell you there are so many things to think about, but something I took into consideration is whether or not to use a pen name. Also, if I chose to use one, what would mine be and how would I go about becoming her?
After "The End" was typed on my first novel (yes, you read that right, I said first, because I have gotten so inspired I actually have multiple... EEEK!) my first thought was 'I want everyone to read this!' That thought was followed almost immediately by, 'Oh my god, I never want anyone to read this!' I, like most writers I know, have struggled with the overwhelming feelings of not being good enough, my work not being done, and insecurities about whether or not anyone would like it. Also, I worried what the 'real' people in my life would think about my work. I've gotten off track a bit, but these things are all important in understanding why I personally chose to use a pen name.
My first novel The Cupcake Cowboy draws strong parallels to my real life and is inspired by the actual events that lead me to my real life happily ever after. Obviously, for this reason, I felt understandably nervous about putting that out in the world so that everyone who knows me can read and dissect it. Also, I worried about the implication on my 'real life,' and my 'real job.' Hopefully, one day writing will be my 'real job' but today-it isn't-and let's face it, despite what we want to believe, the world is full of judgmental people. I didn't want to have my boss knowing I wrote books that contained some seriously seggsy scenes!
Obviously, the characters in my novel are only inspired by true events, their personalities have developed far past any real person I know but they say 'write what you know' for a reason, right? If you do, the story feels authentic, so that's what I did. When I gave my family a brief synopsis of the story the first thing they said was 'Well no wonder it was so easy to write, it's about you!" Obviously after they read it, they realized the parallels are only tangential, but because of this, I felt the need to protect my personal identity.
So that was it, it was decided, I would use a pen name so that I could protect my 'real life.' So now, how do you choose a pen name? Who knows... I'm not an expert, but I will tell you how I chose mine. When crafting mine, I decided to think of what was important to me. I am a mom, and honestly, I have sacrificed a lot of my life to be the best mom I could be, and truthfully, while that sacrifice is something I would never change, my kids are my entire world. So what was the one plausible thing that made sense when picking a name? Use my kids. The name is a compilation of portions of their three names and I also just think it sounds romance-y. I think Rose Rayne Rivers sounds like a best selling author, don't you? I will just assume you're all yelling yes at your screen right now, go ahead... I'll wait.
So now, how did I become Rose Rayne Rivers (the future best selling author)? Well, honestly, it was kind of easy. Once I made the decision to use a pen name, I found that my writing took on a life it's own. It's incredibly freeing to write without the fear of people's judgment. I mean, of course, I intellectually know I will still receive judgment (that's life right), but it helps that I'm able to rationalize in my brain that the judgment is for Rose Rayne Rivers, not me. Everyone wants to say they don't care what people think, but come on, we all do-and that's ok- but, that's why Rose Rayne Rivers takes the hits for me.
I also found that I am able to more deeply explore feelings, because Rose Rayne Rivers is a bad b!tch who doesn't hold back from telling people what she thinks or feels. My personal struggle is putting my own feelings on the back burner and allowing other people's needs to eclipse my own. Rose Rayne Rivers does not do that! In fact, she doesn't care what anyone thinks, and she puts her heart out there, because she thinks that a lot of people probably feel the same way she does. She helps me deal with a ton of internal conflict without having to apologize for it, and she helps me say things I wouldn't ordinarily be able to express.
My debut novel explores themes of sexual harassment and woman's rights. It is an exploration of what today's generation calls the #metoo movement and one that I feel most of my female readers will relate to. I'm not a man hater, just the opposite, in fact. I love a strong man who knows himself and wants to protect his woman without putting her down or shoving her needs to the side. And my novels paint an image of what a modern Alpha-Male looks like.
But, let's face it, not all men are like him, and I think it's important to bring that to the surface. My novels all have a strong female voice, with characters who aren't afraid to call a man on his sh!t. Women have been too quiet for too long and we need to voice the struggles we face so that our kids (both boys and girls) can learn from our mistakes. It's not rude, it's kind and they need us to do it.
My subsequent books (the other standalones in the series I hope to one day release), explore reproductive issues, mental health struggles and sexual identity struggles.
These topics are important and Rose Rayne Rivers talks about them in a real way while using a comedic voice that doesn't beat you over the head. Because, let's face it, life is hard, and why can't we just laugh about that? My books aren't self help, and the topics are mentioned, but most of the time, the stories don't give you the answers, because I am a normal person who is also just figuring it out, what the heck do I know?
Realistically, I know we read romance to be transported to a happier existence and while I want to make it believable, I also want my readers to like it. The goal is to create characters that the reader can relate to, and I feel putting these struggles in is very important. I can't tell you the number of times a book or tv show has inspired my personality. Honestly, my whole parenting style is modeled after Lorelei Gilmore from The Gilmore Girls, so who says fictional stories can't shape reality? Not me!
Anyway, that is my two cents on pen names, and a brief (or maybe not so so brief) reason why I chose to use mine. I know it is probably a round about way of getting there, but hopefully you have found something helpful in this post. I look forward to posting more in the future, and maybe one day, someone will even read them! Ha!
Here's to 2022, may it be filled with reading, writing, laughing and most importantly romance!
Thanks for reading!
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