by Leigh Russell
First of all, I’d like to wish everyone a very HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Secondly, at the risk of sounding like A A Milne, welcome to James, James, Max and Peter to the Curzon Group - 3for1 beating even the 3for2 beloved of Waterstones.
Pseudonyms are a funny idea, really, aren’t they? I wonder how many authors write under their real names? I can understand starting a fresh series, or writing a different kind of book, under a new name. But why do so many of us write the first book under a false name? Is it the alphabetical placing on the shelves? (And why didn’t I think of that before I chose a surname beginning with R?)
When I started out – not long ago - my publisher asked me to use an androgynous name in case my own name put some male readers off. (JK Rowling wasn’t allowed to publish as Joanna because no boy would have touched her books, but surely 21st century males are more open minded....?)
As it happens I was happy to write under a pen name, in case my books flopped. Thankfully that didn’t happen so (issues of vanity aside) I’m now quite happy to have my photo published in my books and all over the internet (not happy with the photos – must get my hair cut… but happy to emerge from my own closet of privacy.)
Many reasons are cited for using pseudonyms but if we’re honest, how many of us start out hiding behind assumed names, in case it all goes wrong and our books don’t sell?
That said, juggling not one but three names – four if you include the ‘real’ one – is a feat in itself. As a fan of James Barrington, James Becker, and Max Adams the authors, I have to admit I’m also in awe of Peter Stuart Smith for running the show from behind the scenes. So, out of the closet and into the Curzon gang - welcome to all three and one of you!