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As I inch closer to my publication date (20 days and counting) I've been thinking about the idea of pen names. I wonder how many of my writer friends had already chosen a pen name before they finished their novels. I know I dreamt about this for years. I was the book nerd version of the girl who, instead of scribbling her imaginary married name on her Charlies' Angels pocket folder, wrote various versions of a nom de plume. We won't go into the various combinations I wrote down. Suffice it to say, I chose wisely. I've used my actual name.

But I've recently discovered the many female writers who wrote under male or gender-neutral names.

Most readers are familiar with J K Rowling, the Harry Potter writing wizard. Before publishing her first book in the U.S., her publisher expressed concern that her target audience (young boys) might not buy books by a female author. Thus, Joanne Rowling became J.K.Rowling.

Other famous female writers and their first or career-long pen names include:

Charlotte Bronte / Currer Bell

Mary Ann Evans / George Eliot

Louisa May Alcott /A.M. Barnard

Antonia Susan Duffy /A.S. Duffy

Amandine Aurore Lucile Dupin / George Sand

Lula Carson Smith /Carson McCullers

So what made you choose your pen name?

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