Happy Anniversary, Ceruleans!
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It's been two years since the first book in the Ceruleans series was published, and I'm helping celebrate the relaunch of the novels with gorgeous new cover art and under the author's real name . . . Say hello to CHARLOTTE WILSON! I was super curious about why Charlotte chose to first write as Megan Tayte and what brought her to the point of having a "big reveal." So I asked her about it, and she was kind enough to share the back-story with me. Read on, and then be sure to enter the giveaway of a print set of the full five- book series!
What’s in a name? ‘Coming out’ from behind a pen-name
by Charlotte Wilson
A decade ago, my first book was published – under a pen name. A strange choice, perhaps, given that I run The Book Specialist, a writing and editing business; surely demonstrating my ability to author a book makes good business sense? It does (which is why I published later books under my professional name, Charlie Wilson). But that first book required sensitive handling, because its content was very personal.
A golden rule of business: draw a line between the personal and the professional, and then respect that boundary.
When I began writing my Ceruleans series, it soon became apparent to me that this was another very personal writing project. The central themes of the books – most notably grief – relate to personal experiences. I began writing intending on publishing as Charlie Wilson, but the further I got into the writing, the more that name held me back. The answer was logical: publish under a pen name.
So I did. Two years ago I published the first Ceruleans book under the name Megan Tayte. Megan, because I love the name; Tayte for the Tate Modern art gallery, London, one of my favourite places on the planet (the added ‘y’ made it a unique name). I created a little brand around that writing name, and over the next year I grew that as I published four more books. In marketing terms, it made good sense to continue on down this road.
The thing about writing under a pen name is that while it can be liberating – you’re cushioned to a degree from criticism and judgment – it’s also a) hard work and b) uncomfortable.
Why hard work? Because you’re handling a whole set of media for the pen name as well as your own, which means multiple email accounts, multiple social media accounts, multiple websites. I ghostwrite all the marketing channels for one of my clients, which meant I’d got to the point of having at least three Facebook accounts open simultaneously on different browsers: overload and confusion were rife.
It was the discomfort, though, that really pushed me to make a change – a feeling of being slightly out of step with who I need to be. Anyone who reads The Ceruleans gets a feel for me as a person; I’m a heart-on-my-sleeve kind of writer. Increasingly, I came to see that being wholly authentic and ‘owning’ my words is really important to me.
‘Coming out’ meant a whole lot of work relaunching The Ceruleans and bringing my fiction into The Book Specialist. It also meant getting brave: being ready for clients – from fellow authors to publishing houses and organisations – to be able to read my fiction and consequently know a lot more about me.
Every day at my desk I still write under more names than Charlotte/Charlie Wilson. That’s the nature of ghostwriting, after all. But when I look up at the shelf and see the new-edition Ceruleans books with my name on the covers… I feel centered. That’s who I am. That’s how I write for myself, as myself.
About Charlotte Wilson