I use one. I’ve actually used two, but Alison Kent is my best known, and no part of it is my real name. Kent was my brother who was killed when the helicopter he was piloting crashed in 1987. When I sold in 1993, I knew I would use his name. My own first name has been mispronounced my entire life, and my first editor shared the misery and understood that I wanted to take a pen name. I had no attachment to any first names, so tossed her five. Alison was her favorite, so here I am.
The weird part is having good friends who met me as Alison, and even though they know my real name, most of the time address me by my pseudo. And I do the same to them. I know they have a different, legal name, but since we rarely see each other in person (at conferences, book signings, etc.) and only interact online, I think of them by their author persona. Sometimes when I email, I’ll use their real name, but usually I email their pseudonym. In any event, if they’re friends, I always sign my real name as it’s really weird to me to get email addressed to Alison by people I know.
Emails from readers and others that come to Alison seem normal, but those from people who know me, not so much. Anyone else suffer my same insane affliction?
*photo courtesy of Sean Lindsay at 101 Reasons to Stop Writing