Stories Behind The Names (cont.)
STATUS: Crazy Monday. How can so much stuff pile up after only 2 days out of the office? It’s like my email and paper replicate itself into virtual or literal stacks that weren’t there when I left on Thursday morning. It’s three in the afternoon and I’ve just finished handling all the “immediate” stuff. Now I can focus on what really needs to be done. And get this, I just received a final contract in the mail and two pages were completely missing from the contract. I hope it’s not going to be that kind of week.
What song is playing on the iPod right now? LOVER, COME BACK TO ME by Dinah Washington
For those counting, we have read and responded to almost all queries through April 23, 2006 (I still need to review a few to see if I want 30 pages or not). Sara also wants to know what is up with all the abusive foster family stories we’ve been receiving lately.
I have to say I’ve really enjoyed talking about the stories behind the names. I actually didn’t realize how many I had until I started putting them down on this blog.
Today, it’s Ally Carter’s turn. This is not some big secret but Ally Carter is not my author’s real name. It’s actually a name that the two of us created and I think this story is kind of fun.
I actually signed Ally for a literary mystery (a novel we still plan to submit in the not so distant future). She was working on revising and was having a slightly frustrating time. Deciding she needed a break, she sent me an email about another novel she was working on—not a literary work. It was a fun novel about a self-help guru on being single getting set-up and then caught in the tabloids with a hunky, struggling actor and how that impacts her life and career. (Yep, you guessed it. CHEATING AT SOLITAIRE that came out this past December.)
Sounds delightful. Send it to me. She did. Loved it. Let’s submit this. But ultimately, she wanted to save her name for her literary work so Ally, the alter-ego, was born.
But it wasn’t born casually. If we were going to create a pseudonym, we wanted to be smart about it. We needed a name that would fit this fun romantic comedy. Being the kind of gal she is, my author created a spreadsheet with a variety of names and combinations.
The two of us actually chose Ally Morgan.
Off it went. Both Avon and Berkley wanted it. Berkley won. Ally Morgan’s new editor calls me.
Editor: “This is a pseudonym. Is she open to changing it?”
Me: “Sure. What do you have in mind?”
Editor: “I’m thinking the “Ms” aren’t a great place in the alphabet for a writer of romantic comedies. I’d like her more near the front of the alphabet and what the hey, how about near Jennifer Crusie?”
Me: “Since it’s not a real name, why not make it about shelf-position.”
It worked for us.
And Ally Carter was born. Honestly, we had no idea what a scamp that alter-ego Ally was going to be. Ally’s career is going like mad.
And no, I’m not going to reveal Ally’s real name (although it’s really not a big deal for me or for Ally if her real identity is discovered). After all, it’s not some big secret.