I really can’t imagine writing “regular” stories. Since my young reader days with Mio My Son, I’ve had my mind fixed on fantasy. I love suspending disbelief and offering alternate universes, prophetic dreams, and mythical creatures. You know; magic, supernatural stuff.
And, while I consider that my personal reality, I can’t help but ogle those writers who switch from one author persona to the next writing this genre and that one. Living like that in the real world would probably get them labeled as having multiple personality disorder. But in fiction we just call it using pseudonyms.
I confess that I’m toying with a name change of my own. Not so much for change of genre, but for differing content. I write under my real name and can’t help but feel occasional twinges of guilt at the thought of my kids reading those romantic scenes (even when they’re of age) or worse, their teachers or schoolmates’ parents snickering or shaking their heads at me during PTA meetings.
Comedian Eddie Murphy said some years ago that he began to make different kinds of movies once his kids were older. He wanted them to be able to enjoy his performances. So, he’s evolved from Raw to Shrek’s donkey, still acting, still funny, but changed. Yet, he managed this transition under his same name.
Can we do this as authors? Or does LA Banks really have to write vampires under that name and romance as Leslie Esdaile so that readers don’t get confused? For me, I’m liking the beginnings of my new WIP as a new persona. The writing is darker and will be sexier, too. Yet, the people on my job will have no clue that the woman in the next cubicle is churning out this stuff when she leaves the office every day. I find it freeing.
To my fellow authors: Have you tried this? You know, writing sweet romance as Suzy Strawberry and horror as Anthony Mayhem? Is it a tough switch or more like a seventh-inning stretch for the mind? Do you think it dilutes your audience or broadens your reach? And, as readers, do you care if your favorite author is a genre switcher who throws you a mystery today and a thriller tomorrow? Does it work for some writers but not for others?
My nosy little pseudonym wants to know.