I re-read one of my novels over the past couple of days. (Writers do that… it’s a form of magical thinking that the characters must not be dead yet… one of the stages of grief.) And that novel—a really good one—is one of my… novels for grown-ups, let’s say. Since we have far more cultural horrors over sexuality than we do over, say, gorefest splatter films, anyone who writes grown-up books will come in for a bit more attention. So I’ve long thought about pseudonyms for some of my work.
It’s a tough category. You could pick a name from a book or magazine. Actually, probably two names, a given and a family from different donors, so as not to unjustly tar someone else’s reputation. So, just looking at this week’s New Yorker, I could be Luke Wickenden, or Akash Jarvis, or Adam Villavicencio, and no one would be the wiser. But I’d have to be careful about unwarranted gender or ethnic assumptions, to not advertise myself as an identity other than my own.
So an easier path might be initials, maybe paired with a compass direction. Pulled at random from an online generator, I could be F. J. South, or E. M. West. Or something vaguely associated with my real name, like Richard Hoover (Herbert Hoover crossed with Richard Childress, the stock-car racing owner).
But just yesterday, I was thinking about the Car Talk method of fake names, which is the creation of bad puns. And I think that’s the way to go, a name that looks reasonable on a book cover but gives itself away when Terry Gross says it out loud for the interview. There are some that are overused kids’ jokes, like Sue deNim or Nonny Mouse. But I think I’ve got it. The short, casual name would be Yuda Noh. The longer, more formal name would be Yuda Nita Noh.
Look for it on your bookstore shelves soon.