name game

While I was plotting my five year plan to become a published author (which is now going on six years, but who’s counting), I realized I had an important choice to make. Besides picking out just the right turtleneck and pipe combo for the dust-jacket cover, I had to decide if I wanted to use my real name.

Now for some of you, this may seem like a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t I use my real name? “Amy Severson” is a perfectly serviceable name. It has all the parts a name should have without the distraction of any superfluous punctuation. People do tend to mispronounce the last name as Sev-er-son instead of Sea-ver-son, but that is a faux-pas I’ve been easily overlooking for almost twenty years.

Ultimately, I still chose to use a pseudonym.

And it’s not because I’m writing anything that I might be embarrassed to show my family like narwhal on polar bear erotica or Tea Party campaign speeches. I write primarily science fiction with a humorous lean (it’s really more like a bad limp, but the funny crosses the finish line eventually). But because I write science fiction, I felt that not using my first name could be an advantage.

Why?

Well, because I’m a girl. If I were writing romance or young adult or even literary fiction then having a girl name really wouldn’t matter and could possibly even be a plus. But science fiction is still a male-dominated genre. Just like gay male erotica is mostly written by straight women (yes, seriously, look it up). And it’s been observed that men tend to overlook female authors in favor of male ones. No, not ALL men, but let’s not open that can of worms, okay?

So I figured to level the playing field a bit and to give myself the best shot at being read by a wider group of people, I’d drop the “Amy” in favor of my first and middle initials. That left me with A.C. Severson, which is all fine and dandy until you say it out loud. Go ahead, try it. After about the third time it’s hard not to sound like you have some sort of speech impediment.

Lucky for me, like most married women, I have another last name to pick from.

That’s why all my future short stories, novels, poems scribbled on wine-stained napkins, will feature the author name of A.C. Adams. Pretty great name, huh? And it’s not even a “fake” name. It’s all really mine in some way or another. What does the “C” stand for? Not telling. I feel it’s important to keep some mystery in a relationship. There are a few people who read this blog who know, so you may be able to bribe them for the answer.

And that brings us to the name of this here website. I wanted it to tie in with my pseudonym in some manner, but I decided to use my first name with the middle initial. And once I said “Amy C.” what immediately followed in my brain was “Amy do” cause, you know, why should monkeys have all the fun.  The “Amy fall down” part was added because, well, I do. Fall down. A lot. It’s kinda my thing.

So there you go. A long drawn out explanation for something that probably no one even really cares about.  That’s also my thing.

Oh, and you probably noticed that my maiden name is Amy Adams. I might have considered that name to write under but ultimately didn’t want to cause any confusion between me and some bitch who had to go and become a famous actress with my goddamn name. For the record, I had the name first. Not that I’m bitter. I really try for that not to be my thing.

 

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24 comments

  1. Although you and I have had this discussion, I enjoyed the process of you writing it. AND, falling down is nothing you can claim as your “thing” because you inherited it from me. AND, I know your middle name, I gave it to you, and it possibly could go to the highest bidder in cash or other worldly goods I might want. PS, you will be given the opportunity to outbid the highest bidder.

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  2. Ooh, I like A.C. Adams, too. Good choice! Actually, it sounds like it could be the name of an interstellar private eye for hire. Not quite a hired gun, but not quite not a hired gun either. Ray gun, that is.

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  3. I like your pseudonymous choice! Interesting thoughts on the requirement for gender anonymity (though your writing screams XX, not XXX, but XX like chromosomal pairs, not smut!).

    Anyway, since I’ve never actually spoken to you, I will admit that I have always called you (in my head) Amy Sever-son. Like severed finger. I will try to make the mental adjustment.

    I will also admit a bit of a crush on that Amy Adams chick.

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    1. I probably over-thought the gender neutral name choice (I tend to do that), but figured it couldn’t hurt. And I’ve always thought that I don’t write “girly.” I like writing male characters, too for some reason. Probably because it’s so fun to torture them (insert evil laugh).

      And I’ll forgive you on the pronunciation. Most people get it wrong on the first try. I’d rather someone mispronounce my name than call me “ma’am.”

      Crush on that impostor all you want.

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  4. Everything about you is serviceable, darling. -I said that in my best skeevy accent, hoped you appreciate the effort.

    A.C. Adams is going serve you well. I have an amazing feeling about this. It also helps that I’ve read a bunch of your stuff and it’s better than anything out there at the moment.

    And how in the hell do I NOT know what the C stands for? Is it like that, are there secrets between us? Do we do that?

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    1. I am sufficiently skeeved out. Bravo.

      There are things you don’t know about me, Scott. Dark things. Things with leathery wings and gore-caked claws. Things that start with the letter C.

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  5. I keep wanting to click “Like” on the comments…there is no “Like” button. Anyway, I really enjoy everybody’s comments, so everyone consider themselves “liked”.

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  6. Going back to pronunciation. I also, of course, pronounce it SEE-verson. BUT! Once, I was in Norway, and was checking into the hotel, and the handsome young man, with oh my goodness cheekbones (excuse me a minute….), pronounced it sev-ERRRR-son. And because he was so handsome (and, uh, Norweigan), he was allowed.

    I asked my grandmother about it later, and she said (paraphrased): “he’s probably from a different fjord”

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    1. “Probably from a different fjord.” HA! I’m totally gonna find excuses to include that into my everyday conversations!

      And young men with killer cheekbones can call me whatever the hell they want. 🙂

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  7. How did I miss this? I was guilty of pronouncing it “sever”… I mean, you write stories where people are severed. It seemed the right thing to do. Alas, I learned the truth, and I let go of the fantasy. Meh. A.C. Adams is pretty kick ass.

    Sadly, I found out this summer that one of my uncles refuses to read books written by women. Hate that fact about him. Get published, so we can get him to change his ways.

    – Lenore

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  8. I too am one of the privileged few to know what the C stands for, but I think I’ll keep it to myself!

    Love the new pen name – it suits you!

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