Wednesday, January 11, 2012

RTW: A rose by any other name smells weird

I think it's been months since I've done a Road Trip with YA Highway! I've missed it!

I must confess: I had a hard time keeping up with blogging at the end of last year. In honor of the new year I've been trying to get back into blogging. Let's not call it a resolution, let's call it an apocalution. If the apaocalypse is coming, I might as well try to be my best me for twelve months.

This week's question, What would your pseudonym be?

My full name is Katharine Amory Owens.

I LOVE the name Katharine. Even though there are always a lot of Katharines around (an abundance you might say), I still think it's a classic, beautiful name.

But did you notice something about how I spelled it? It's Katharine-with-an-a.

Like Katharine Hepburn, for whom I was not named, and my great Aunt Katharine, for whom I was.

It used to drive me crazy that no one could get it right. My high school boyfriend even wrote me a poem about it. (I still have it. I could find it if I had an extra 20 hours or so to dig through my boxes before this post goes live. But I'm not jumping into that black hole today.)

I still notice when people email me and misspell it. I'm not saying I keep a list of these offenders, but I do notice.

I love my middle name, and wanted it to be my first name for many, many years. I could never successfully convince anyone else to switch to calling me that, however. I think my one golden opportunity was when I went off to college and met tons of new people, but I missed it. So that's that.

The truth is, I love my name.

Does it bother me that there is potential future confusion with Katherine Owens, a Kentucky mom, who writes. Yes.

Does it bother me that people are much more likely to find her website first? A little.

I've thought of K.A. Owens, but I don't want people to think that I think that I'm some kind of Rowling. I'm probably overthinking that one.

I've thought of the full thing, Katharine Amory Owens, but that seems pretentious.

I've thought of K. Amory Owens but that seems confusing.

I've thought of Amory Owens, but then it doesn't seem like me.

I'm not shy or ashamed of what I do. When I publish, I want credit for it. 
I didn't take my husband's name when we married, because I like my own name. (Though some family members continue to ignore this and send my mail to the non-legal entity that is Katharine Maier, or worse, Mrs. Michael Maier). 

I'll stick with Katharine A. Owens

If it means more years of misspellings, I'll get over it.

Wait, Amory Maier has a nice ring to it...


  1. One of my best friends from high school is Stefanie with an "f" drove her crazy when people couldn't get that right...but the Katharine/Katherine thing is worse...easier to overlook the a/e difference than f/ph.

  2. Amory is such a beautiful name! Don't get me wrong, so is Katharine, but I've never heard Amory before. I love it!

    I was pretty bummed when I started writing and realized that someone in Boston already owned my domain name. And go figure, she was also a writer!! Talk about confusing. That's why I started calling myself Lo...a nickname that stuck with close friends and family over the years! And I totally hear you on the taking-your-husband's-last-name thing. I got engaged over the Christmas holidays (yay!) but I will forever be Laura Hughes. If only because nobody in Canada will be able to pronounce his Dutch last name properly ;-)

  3. Amory Maier. That would be an interesting twist. Often female authors revert to (or keep) their maiden names for their writing. I've not heard of someone using their maiden name for everything else and just using their married name for their writing. Cool!

  4. I know two Stefanie with an "f" ...
    When I lied in the US, every time I said Juliana, people wrote Julianna, with 2 N's ... it was maddening lol
    I also like your name, and your middle name too!

  5. I know I've been guilty of misspelling your name. I like your middle name a lot, but I can't picture you as one. Names are such an important thing that it's hard to change what you are, you know?

  6. I know EXACTLY what you mean! Nobody knows how to pronounce my last name. Carolyn Snow Abiad, C. Snow Abiad, CS Abiad, Carolyn Snow, Carolyn Abiad, Snow Abiad... I go in circles.

    I have to print some cards out soon, so I'll need to make a decision. What's your vote? I'm thinking Abiad is good though, because it comes at the beginning of the alphabet. I was Snow at the end of line in school for all those years. My son is A.A. Hehe! He's almost always first.

    What does your agent say? Probably something like: "Do what feels right to you."

    You think JK Rowling's agent thought JK Rowling was too much like CS Lewis? Didn't matter in the end.

    My aunt came up with a pen name completely different than her real name. Maybe that's the solution?

    As for my vote: I say keep it all. Katharine Amory Owens.

    Sorry for the ramble! ;)

  7. Wait, you're not publishing under The Insect Collector? How will people know it's you? :)

    I have considered and reconsidered pen names, but it's too confusing and too easily identifiable. That being said, I can see changing a name for a different genre or type of book.

  8. I'd never heard the name Amory before. I think it's beautiful. :)

    I like your full name.

  9. Amory is such a pretty name! And Amory Maier DOES have a nice ring to it.

    Although I like your actual name fine. :)

  10. I really like the name Amory too. Like the word 'amor'. It sounds like you have a lot to work with. The name Amory Maier is pretty awesome.

    I had the same problem with people either misspelling or mispronouncing my name. I struggled with coming up with a pseudonym for awhile myself, and here's how it turned out for me.

  11. Amory is beautiful, and Katharine is one of my fave names. I'd stick with that!

  12. I hear you on the misspelling thing (same problem with 'Jaime'). You have a beautiful name, and I especially like 'Amory'. Very nice =) Also, Katharine A. Owens has a ring to it. Good choice!

  13. I love your name. It's a strong contender if we have another baby and if that baby happens to be female (although likely spelled with an 'e' because we'd be naming after family members). I'm also a big fan of Amory. Fell in love with that name in college after I read THIS SIDE OF PARADISE.

    In short, I approve of your name. ;)

  14. In my head I actually said 'ha!' at the abundance of Katherines line. I'm apparently annotating my thoughts now.

    I might have to vote for Amory Maier; it just sounds so soft and lovely and Irish(?). And now I'm thinking about it so much I want to steal it for a nonexistent character.

  15. lol You've given this a lot of thought. Honestly, I've never thought of one day publishing as anything other than what I was born with.
    It's the first time is see the name Amory and I really like it. You have a beautiful set of name. Seems very exciting when compared to my plain Jani Grey. But I still like my name, especially how short it is.

  16. Love the names Katharine (and the 'abundance' comment made me smile) and Amory. As a card-carrying member of the 'first name + middle name = pseudonym' club, how about Katharine Amory? Hehe. :D

  17. An apocalution! Ha! (seriously, my husband thinks this is the year that the world will, if not end, at least change dramatically).

    I also loved the abundance reference.

    And I must chime in here and say, oh yes, Amory. Lovely name. Couldn't you use Katharine Amory for your pen name?

    My name is so ordinary: there are dozens of Joanne Fritzes out there. I've thought of using my maiden name (I'm a lot older than you and back then we took our husband's names). But my maiden name is unusual. So I'd kind of prefer to be J. Rossmassler if I ever get published. Or even J. Rossmassler Fritz.

    And my name is not simply misspelled (Joann or JoAnn), it's often mispronounced as "Joan" or even "Jean." Go figure!

    Love the rose smelling weird.

  18. I agree with you, Katharine, or the two preceding commenters who suggested Katharine Amory! Unless you want to abbreviate your first name and go with Kat Owens....?

  19. I like your name. It seems confident. And "Amory" is wonderful.

    I chose to go with initials when I write YA because I'm trying to market to teen boys as well as girls and I was told they're not as eager to buy books written by women.

  20. I haven't used the first name my mom gave me in years--I didn't mind the name, but EVERYBODY shortened it. No matter how I introduced myself or wrote it, it always ended up -ie. I did take my husband's name when we married though, mainly because most people misspelled or mispronounced that name.

  21. Amory is really different but Katharine has a classic ring to it. I have a lifetime of being called Becki/Becky which kinda drove me crazy but it's to be expected I guess. So many people don't listen they just take the rough collection of letters and shorten/twist...

  22. Oooh, I do like Amory Maier--that's pretty damn intriguing!

    I get your point about being proud of your name and wanting to stick with it--I agree. Especially since I'm pretty sure (99.9%) that I'm THE one and only Marquita Hockaday in the world.

  23. Katharine, you have a beautiful, classic name and I wouldn't change a thing if I were you either. You can always save Amory Maier for when you decide to switch genres. :-) Great post!

  24. You should write an autobiography and title it "The Difficulty of Being Katharine."

  25. Actually, I think your full name is gorgeous. It's elegant without being pretentious. It makes one think that a person with such a beautiful name would write a beautiful book. I'd go with what you've got!!!

  26. Grah, my grandmother sends my mail to Mrs. Michael Silverstein now! I mean, it's sweet. But it's so goofy--she's *my* grandmother!

    The good news is that my students encountered that convention in an essay we read recently and were totally bewildered by it--so it seems to be well and truly dead to the younger generations.

  27. You're lucky; you have a great name. I don't think using your middle name looks pretentious. Because it's a last name (I'm assuming?) and not another girl name, it seems more natural.

  28. Katherine, thanks for the review of Screwing Up Time. I'm sold. Just went to Amazon and downloaded a copy!


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