Did You Keep Your Maiden Name?

Saturday, February 21, 2009
Many writers use a pseudonym when writing in a different genre to differentiate and brand their writing styles, as well as disguise their true identities. But what if you write in your parent-given name and then get married? Should you change your maiden name to your married name?

Recognize that keeping your maiden name goes against many years of tradition in certain countries, but it still is your decision. I've chosen not to take my husband's last name for the simple fact that I like my own, much to his chagrin. I also chose to keep my maiden name because that's what people know my writing and artwork by. As a writer, we have more of a decision to make than other women because our bylines are what readers recognize.

I'm curious, did you keep your maiden name? Why or why not? Or has your maiden name become your pseudonym now?


Amy Sue Nathan said...

I loved changing my name when I got married. But when I divorced it got complicated. I wanted the same name as my kids, as well as an identity separate from my ex-husband's -- so I went with the dual last name for a while -- and when I started writing I dropped his last name and wrote - and do write - using only my original last name. In my community I'm known by my married name. As a writer I'm known by my original/given name -- there is some crossover because in real life people know both names -- but in my writing no one knows my married name. As a writer of personal essays and articles, I feel like it gives my kids a bit of anonymity. When and if my novel is published I'll also use my given name. I do feel like that's the real me these days.

LuAnn said...

I kept my maiden name for about a year. It was actually my husband's suggestion. He said all my readers knew me by my maiden name, so why change it? I surprised him just before our first anniversary by changing it to my married name. I told him I would always have my maiden name ... after all, I was born with it. But now, my name is the same as his.

Anonymous said...

I changed my last name because my maiden name meant nothing to me. My father was simply not around.

I took a last name with a long, rich world history- a name from an ancient civilization that resisted both the Spanish conquistadors and the Aztecs before them. I was proud and eager to take it. I teach my children to live up to the history of their last name.

Jennifer Roland said...

Legally, I took my husband's name when we married. However, I still write under my maiden name. It has some level of recognition in my nonfiction field. But I've been wondering if I should use pseudonyms for my other writing.

Does name recognition from nonfiction translate to fiction? Can your nonfiction credibility be damaged by writing in certain fiction genres? If you choose to write a children's book, it is important to use a different name so that kids don't accidentally come across your more adult books before they are ready?

My verification word is lytonene.

Anonymous said...

I always knew I would hyphenate my last name when I got married. I liked the idea of seeing "the old me" and "the new me" together in a byline.

Anonymous said...

I thought long and hard over this decision when I published my first book. I wanted people who knew me before I was married to know that it was me. But my maiden name is totally dorky, at least in relation to my first name. What my parent were thinking when they named me Dawn Deem is beyond me! I was happy to drop it and have a common normal name -"Dawn Stephens". authorship made me reconsider that but I decide to go with the normal and familar. maybe a common name will be easier to remember or maybe someone will discover me when they are actually looking for someone else. Regardless I just stayed with the married version.

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