So the Quirky Ladies have been on a pen name kick lately, as you may remember from Michelle’s previous blog, and it’s turned into an amusing side project – at least for me. I decided I should go with a family name, something with personal meaning, but also a name easy to remember, and, of course a marketable name.
After much deliberation, I narrowed it down to two: Tara Blake or Tara Truesdale. Given I write women’s fiction and single-title contemporary I leaned heavily towards Tara Blake mostly since Tara Truesdale sounded more akin with a historical romance writer. Also, Tara Blake has the same number of syllables as my given name, rolls off the tongue (as I would soon learn quite literally so), and could potentially put me in a good alphabetical position should my manuscripts ever hit the bookshelves.
As I was about to declare a pen name winner, I decided to do the proverbial Google sanity check first. Well, let’s just say I am now even more acutely aware of how wonderful a resource the Internet can be. It seems Tara Blake, who I am sure is a lovely lady indeed, was a porn star in the 1980s, starring in such classics as Holly Does Hollywood 3, Breast Stroke 2, and Deep Inside Trading, to name just a few.
For hours, since I do still like the name, I played around with the idea of using a former porn star name as my pen name. I consider myself an open-minded person, and have nothing against the porn industry (as long it only involves consenting adults), so maybe Tara Blake could fit.
As I was trying on the name in my mind, I even went so far as to envision what my traditional porn star name would be (you remember, your first pet’s name and the name of the street you grow up on). Well, I wound end up with the moniker Obi Wan Kenobi Oak. Interesting on many levels (I can’t believe my parents let us torture a cat in such a manner), especially if you are a Star Wars fan (I am), but certainly not a name that evokes romance on any level.
But could I really use a porn star name as my pen name? I kept asking myself again and again, especially after I found more information on the Internet (Ms. Blake once played a character named Virginia Beaver), but for every time I thought maybe I could, twice as many times I decided against it.
I tried to give it another go though since I felt as if Tara Blake, a long-ago porn star, and I, a would-be romance author, are sisters in arms in some strange way. I didn’t want to cast her aside without ever having seen her work the way so many people disparage romance novels despite never having read one.
Could I do it; could I pull it off?
I asked the Quirky Ladies their opinion since they know me well. Was a porn star name too much of a stretch? From the howls of laughter I received when they learned of the illicit past of my potential Nom De Plume, I realized my gut reaction was valid and it was probably not an association that was in any way believable. In fact, it borders on a leap of faith not seen since Jesus rose from the dead after being nailed to the cross. Let’s face it, if you know me or have read more than a few paragraphs of anything I have ever written, Snow White is a whore compared to me or my heroines.
Nope…no porn star name for me. I’m too tried and true, which leads me back to my other possible pen name, which is actually where I should have ended up in the first place. You see Truesdale will be a tribute to my Dad’s mother, who I bare an uncanny resemblance to, but unfortunately never got to the chance to meet. From what I know about her, she would get a kick out of having her name attached to romance novels.