Using a pseudonym

Barbara Burke is not my real name…sort of. The name I go by – my ‘real’ name – belongs to someone who writes serious articles for serious magazines and newspapers. It belongs to a woman who wins awards for her works as a journalist and editor. It belongs to a woman who sometimes finds herself hanging out with academics and ‘serious writers’ who wouldn’t dream of stooping to admit they might harbour even a modicum of respect for romance writers (yes, they’re probably real wankers).
So when I started writing romance I decided I needed to do it under another name. I didn’t want to confuse people, was what I told myself.
And thus Barbara Burke was born. However, even though it’s a pseudonym, a nom-de-plume, even a nom-de-guerre if one’s feeling particularly jaundiced about this whole writing business, I actually have every right to the name.
Before she married, my mother’s last name was Burke. So I’m as much a Burke as I am a…the other side of the family. If we lived in a matriarchy rather than a patriarchy my last name would be Burke without question. That’s good enough for me. I claim Burke as my birthright.
Barbara takes a little more explaining. My brother was 13 when I was born and, family lore has it, fell in love the first time he saw me. When my father went to register my birth he took my brother with me. The clerk was duly filling in the form and asked for my second name. Uh oh. Though my first name had been set in stone for months – John, if I was a boy and…never mind, if I was a girl – my parents had somehow neglected to come up with a suitable middle name. At that point my brother stepped in. In the throes of puppy love for some dream girl in his grade eight class he blurted out her name – Barbara – and the clerk had it filled out on the official form before my father could speak. My mother discovered my newfound moniker when reading the evening paper in hospital that night.
So even though Barbara Burke is not my ‘real’ name, I think it’s as much a part of me as that other one and I claim it proudly in my second life as a romance writer.

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3 Responses to Using a pseudonym

  1. R. McGowan says:

    Great site,really like the history behind the stories, Look forward to more

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m always interested in how people use the names they use. Must be the post-modernist in me.


  3. Or how they’ve had these names sitting unused for years.


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