Many famous writers use false names. For example: Samuel Langhorne Clemens, Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass, Louis de Conte, and Mark Twain are all the same man.
People use a pen name for many different reasons. Some are ashamed of what they wrote or are presenting something controversial. Some people are trying to appeal to regional readers. Some are trying to gather a certain type of audience. Yet others don’t want people to tie them to their writing because they’ve written about real life people.
None of those reasons are why I’m using a literary double. My first, and most important reason, is because my last name is next to impossible to spell for the majority of people. Now, I love my last name. I’m proud of my Greek heritage. I will make my current last name my second middle name if I get married. However, I want my readers to have a name that they can relate to and one that is as complicated as mine when looking at it, means that I plan to simplify. I want something people will be able to type into Amazon. Without simplification, I can’t have a broader reading base.
My second reason is because of my job and my father’s job. I am a teacher of English and Theatre at a private Christian school. My father is a well-respected priest. While I think that my writing is wholly appropriate, there are conservative Christian folks and helicopter/anxious parents who may disagree. I don’t write Christian-based fiction. I write war novels. I write novels with space aliens. I write novels with magic in them. I write novels where sex occurs (whether I explicitly state it or not). I have characters of every moral stripe who deal with issues that are not black and white in my mind, but really shades of grey. My novels deal with real life issues through the guise of fantasy and science fiction where the religious systems are inspired by many different mythologies and ideas that people had throughout the ancient world. While I can show historical precedent pantheons of gods, I really don’t think it’s an argument worth having. While I can explain my reasons for covering the topics I do with the characters I love until I’m blue in the face, it doesn’t mean that some people won’t have an issue with things. Frankly, the ones that do are usually the vast minority, they just happen to be very vocal and I don’t want to cause trouble for the wonderful school that I work at or for my father.
My third reason is because I think it’s a cool name. I love alliteration and I’m very visual so I worked through names that used my favourite literary device and that I thought looked good visually on both two lines and one. By the time I had spent two weeks working on this and writing out a ton of different names, there was one that stood out as inherently me. That name is: “Christiana Krump”.
There are a few reasons this name is the one I have chosen to begin publishing in places like Wattpad and hopefully via a major publishing house some day. First off, I like the sound of it. The hard sounds at the beginnings of each name gives it the sharp edge that feels like high fantasy adventure stories to me. The feminine first name is there because I do write strong female characters for at least one of my narrators in each series and I want both men and women to find it accessible. Secondly, I love the way it looks when I write it out and I link the C and the K together. It feels right when I do calligraphy for it. It is also something that honours my real life and certain people in it.
People often look at my real last name and figure that my first name must be more complicated. Why they do this, I have no idea, but they do. And the most common mispronunciation of my first name that I get is “Christiana”. It happens so often that I respond to it. The last name is for my kids in Fall River. One major aspect of my life while I was there was the Durfee Krump Squad. DKS (along with my other dance groups) were made up of “my kids” and I still communicate with members of the squad on a weekly basis (meaning I talk to at least one a week, if not more) and get updates and videos from them. They know that they are my sons and daughters and being their “school mom” is one of the great honours of my life. Since I hold them so dear to my heart my professional name is a reference to them.
You will notice if you’ve looked over to the side before, that my name changed a little while ago. This is because I have made the decision to start self publishing short stories and the like since people seem to really enjoy entries like “Date a Girl Who Writes” and I would like to have a little bit of a unified web presence and platform.