The writer formerly known as Edward Willett

It’s a good news, bad news situation. (Well, baddish news.)

First, the good news: my agent informs me that DAW wants to buy my proposed fantasy novel, currently titled Magebane.

The bad news: I’ll have to write it under a pseudonym.

As this is explained to me, my SF novels with DAW–Lost in Translation, Marseguro, and the upcoming Terra Insegura–haven’t sold very well. As a result, the computers that decide book order numbers for the big chains may possibly decided that the author known as Edward Willett doesn’t sell enough books to be worth their while, and either pass over my next book completely or order so few it amounts to the same thing.

By writing Magebane under a pseudonym, I appear to the system as a new author, and presto!, I get another crack at trying to build an audience and a solid career.

(But, I hear you say, it it’s a pseudonym, shouldn’t you be secretive about it? I asked; no, not really, because we’re not trying to fool any real people here–just computers.)

Obviously I’d prefer to write under my own name, but just as obviously, the most important thing to me as someone who makes a living as a full-time freelancer is to be published and paid. So I’ll write under a pseudonym and not complain (much). I’m hardly the first author to be in this position and I won’t be the last.

Now, of course, I have to come up with a pseudonym. I’m currently leaning strongly toward Lee Arthur Chane. Chane is my middle name, and it’s not one I get a chance to use very often, so this would be a chance to get it out there. (And, yes, it’s pronounced “Chain.” As explained to me, my parents wanted me to have the same initials, E.C. Willett, as my grandfather, Euwin Chambers Willett, but didn’t want me to be stuck with either Euwin or Chambers, for which I’m grateful. Also, they had just seen and enjoyed the movie Shane.) Lee and Arthur also have family connections: my father was James Lee Willett, my brother is Jimmy Lee Willett. And Arthur is the middle name of my other brother, Dwight Arthur Willett.

However, there are other possibilities. Alexander Chane was one; Alexander was what we were going to name our daughter if she’d been a boy. (Instead, she’s Alice.) Alexander Ridgeway is another: Ridgeway was my grandmother-in-law’s maiden name, and has a nice Britishness to it.

I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, rest assured I will have another novel out from DAW after Terra Insegura. You’ll just have to check back here to be sure you know what name is on the cover!

Unless, of course, Marseguro, say, won a Hugo Award or something and suddenly had to be reprinted because of overwhelming demand.

You may take that as an official Hint.

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