Writer's Life

A Frivolous Post about My Quest for the Right Pen Name

Brainless Tales

(Image from brainlesstales.com)

I’m indecisive about names. My heroines usually go through about three before I find the one that’s just right. My pen name has been no different. I’m happy with Julia Bennet. It holds meaning for me, and it’s close but not too close to my real name. Now that I’ve settled on it, it seems the obvious choice. Meant to be.

But until recently I was using Julia Jones. It was a name I could imagine gracing the cover of an historical romance, and I fell in love with the alliteration of it. If you google that name, you’ll see that there are lots of people already using it, including an actress from the Twilight movies.

So I started brainstorming.

After some thought, I settled on Julia Audley. It seemed like something an historical romance author might be called. But then someone at my literary agency pointed out that the two As side by side made it awkward. I had to agree.

Next, in a moment of desperation, I turned to my 6 year old:

Me: What do you think my pen name should be?

Him: Mummy. Or Clark Kent.

Then I went through the entire section of a database of British surnames. When that yielded nothing, I went through all the other sections. Still nothing.

Then, in another moment of desperation, I asked my husband:

Him: Have you considered English placenames?

Me: Such as?

Him: Cherwell? Chiswick? Stafford?

Me: Are you just listing motorway service stations?

Him: Er … maybe.

Nevertheless, I liked the idea in theory, so I turned to google maps. What I found convinced me that our British forefathers were permanently drunk on small ale. Believe it or not, all of the following surnames are examples of real British place names.

How about Julia Picklescott?

Julia Monkland? (Monkland being the world’s worst theme park.)

Julia Broadbottom?

Julia Wetwang?

Julia Whapload?

These are the tip of the iceberg. Here’s a map:



(For more examples, visit Anglotopia.net where I found the above image. It’s well worth a look.)

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