Friday, November 20, 2009

On Secret Pseudonyms

While reading a review for Boston Teran's latest book, it occurred to me that authors who don't want to reveal their real name, and yet want you to know that they are already "well-known," drive me crazy. You can't have it both ways.

But I think it's OK if you later plan on telling the world. Donald Westlake originally did this with his pseudonym Samuel Holt. He wanted to see if he could still make it in fiction without his famous name. In an interview with the University of Chicago Press, he explained:

Some years later, I had reached that point known by a lot of writers: What if I were starting now? In this changed market, would I succeed? So I tested the waters the same way Stephen King did with his Richard Bachman novels: throw it out there under cover of darkness, and see what happens. That’s where Samuel Holt came from.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I once heard Donald Westlake tell an audience that Richard Stark wasn't writing any new books because he was in jail.